Investing in the future of our youth remains something that we all endeavour to uphold and try to encourage. But enticing our prospective youth leaders, into an industry such as event technical services can, at times, be challenging based on many social and economic issues. But at Hyde Park High school, the educators have introduced a technical programme into their curriculum to give learners an early kick-start into this industry of future technical gurus, which in previous years wasn’t something that was even on the cards for the youth at school level.

So for us, at Splitbeam, this opportunity to share the skills of our industry with the youth at school level, came with a bit of luck, primarily due to the school sending through a last minute request for assistance. We grabbed the opportunity and saved the day… and the rest, I suppose you could say, is history. 

Partnering with Hyde Park High School has been such a great opportunity for Splitbeam. Working with the pupils and giving them a chance to experience a day in the life of a full time technician in the theatre industry, is very rewarding on both sides.

Giving them a first-hand taste of the fundamentals, are Splitbeam’s Clement Makama and Jeff Thomson, under whose expert mentorship the pupils receive theoretical and practical training on Lighting principles as well as the Audio side of things.

Taking this whole programme by the reins and leading it to success is Danielle Bentel, Master in Charge of Dramatics, Sound and Lighting at Hyde Park. Her passion in drama and the arts makes the whole process a lot more streamlined and her vision provides the driving force for the growth and development of her pupils. She is also a nurturing figure for the pupils to confide in. She inspires and encourages them to give of their best and with this support the pupils have taken on their roles in this technical arena with great strides and enthusiasm, managing to achieve high levels of excellence on all levels, and in turn being responsible for all the school's events and setups for the ceremonies, parent information evenings, school assemblies and sports events. 

Danielle, during her time at Hyde Park, has developed a strong connection with our team, specifically Clement, our Senior Lighting Technician at Splitbeam. They have formed not only a friendship but work together in all aspects to create events for the school that have that elusive “wow” factor. Danielle has only positive things to say about their working relationship and the great teamwork attests to the accomplishments made by the students. Having enthusiastic teachers who are inspirational to their advancement in the field has made all the difference.

Clement, who has been with Gearhouse Splitbeam since it opened its doors in 2010, has proved to be Danielle’s right hand when it comes to handling all the technical requirements for Hyde Park school in his field of expertise. He is also looked up to by the students and with his patient nature, educating the students seems to come naturally.

Working alongside Clement, and with his own list of accomplishments and talents, is Jeff Thomson, Splitbeam’s Senior Audio Operator. Although he is fairly new to the Splitbeam team, Jeff, too, is investing his time at the school, to mentor the pupils on a practical as well as theoretical platform, engaging with them and getting them to see the passion he shares for what he is very accomplished at. Audio! 

With the first day of training completed, we now await the onset of our upcoming events:, namely: Feb : Open Day Event / April: Easter Festival and Derby Day / May “In the Height” School Musical (SA Premier) and Musical Festival.

This partnership is something we would like to grow, and we greatly value the standing we have with the school and the technical team players. We aim to make it a rewarding platform for students and for the building of business relationships.

With time, our ultimate goal is to merge into the educational stream of technical production in theatre and with word of mouth travelling fast, our service excellence and experience at school level has already been enjoyed by schools such as Redhill, Reddam, Krugersdorp High School, St David’s, Reddford house, Crawford College Sandton and Holy Rosary School, to name but a few.

We wish these budding students all the success in pursuing their dreams, taking on this challenge and getting the ball rolling. We are hopeful that one day we will be introducing these highly talented youngsters, into an industry yearning for competent, eager technicians with a good grounding in ALL the major fields of expertise. 

Thank you Splitbeam and Team for sharing and investing in our youth.

Written by Liza Hooper, also an ex pupil of HYDE PARK HIGH, Photos Liza Hooper

Feb 24, 2017

The Gearhouse Group of Companies