A company that designs the lighting for Elton John’s one-off shows and private events has moved its headquarters to Barnsley.
Innovation Productions is run by Andrew Pygott, who started out helping his parents at amateur shows when he was just five.
Now his company builds stages and supplies lighting, sound and video equipment for stars such as Leona Lewis, Status Quo, Katherine Jenkins and McFly, in addition to designing and providing equipment for Elton.
Away from the big stars, the company, which celebrated its 13th birthday this year, sells, hires and installs equipment and provides technical support for drama groups, theatres, schools, colleges, corporate events and festivals.
“I used to go to lots of shows with my mum from a very young age,” says Andrew. While mum, Elaine, was on stage, Andrew helped his dad, Eric, who was an electrical manager and helped out on the technical side.
“When I was about five I started helping putting props on stage and nailing carpets down. When I got to eight I was allowed to plug things in. I had no idea then what it would all lead to. But I was always fascinated by the technical side of theatre,” Andrew adds.
Andrew started buying his own equipment and hiring it out to amateur dramatics groups and events organisers events. Initially his dad helped him out, particularly when Andrew was too young to drive.
Then, he became technical manager for a number of cruise liner companies, working for Cunard among others, managing the entertainment technology and inaugural events on the world largest ocean liner, the Queen Mary 2, before returning home to concentrate on Innovation Productions.
When his company needed bigger premises to cope with its growth, business support programme Enterprising Barnsley stepped in, helping the company secure a Business Growth Programme grant that helped it move from West Yorkshire, to Barugh Green, in Barnsley, while also providing advice on topics ranging from recruitment to Information Technology.