Top Ten Tips on… production managing your event

So you have an idea of what type of event you want to create and what kind of activity will be included, but how do you actually bring everything together to ensure you deliver a smooth and, most importantly, safe event?

We asked experienced production manager Peter Herbert from PH Productions to share his insider knowledge on production managing an event with Artsbank.


Tip 1: check you can afford it

Is the budget reasonable for what you are planning? Never try and achieve too much with too little – you will simply be at risk of cutting corners and risking the safety of everyone. It’s an easy path to be led down. In the early planning stages split your budget into designated areas. No reason to be too detailed at this stage but you may find the headings from tips 4 to 7 below useful.


Tip 2: give yourself enough time

Consider if you are allowing enough time to plan your event effectively and safely. To some extent of course it can depend on the scale of the event and your experience, however I would recommend 12 months ahead as a reasonable time to be looking at. The reasons for this will become clear in the following tips.


Tip 3: carefully consider the location

  • Who owns the land or building you wish to use?
  • Is it good terrain with adequate entrances and exits and car parking for the audience size expected?
  • What amenities does it have and therefore what will you need to provide?
  • If it is in a built up area, what impact will you have on local businesses who may object to your plans?
  • Will you need to apply for road closures?
  • Is the site accessible to everyone? And if not how will you make it so?

It is a good idea in the early stages to draw a map of the site and its amenities and then spend some time thinking about where things will go. Then, visit the site again and imagine what this will look like – maybe mark up the areas with small flags.


Tip 4: consider what equipment and outside contractors you may need to hire

Cheapest is not necessarily the best. Remember also, any equipment or professional services you hire, and this can range from generators to toilets to site dressing (flags, bunting etc), needs to be well maintained and have the necessary proof of compliance (such as Portable Appliance tests). Are the companies you are using reputable and reliable? If you have not used them before ask for recommendations.

Make sure you ask for and check all the necessary documentation (insurance, method statements, health and safety statement etc) from these suppliers. This is the same for any external entertainment you may be booking too (e.g. performance companies).

If you are having your event at the height of the event season you may find it difficult booking items if you leave it too late. This could leave you open to having to pay a premium price from a limited choice of companies. Always book early and ensure the suppliers have agreed your delivery and pick up dates etc.


Tip 5: consider the health and safety of your event

This is not a phrase to scare you or put you off staging an event, however, remember you are organising something where you are expecting members of the public to attend and you have a duty of care for their safety. This also goes for everyone you are involving in the organising and delivering of the event with you.

Fortunately, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have some great resources online:

I would suggest spending some time becoming familiar with these. If you have the budget do also consider hiring a Health and Safety Advisor.


Tip 6: professional security or volunteers?

Some events will run very smoothly with experienced and well trained volunteers and their assistance will add a lot to your event. However, you should never be asking volunteers to get involved in anti-social behaviour issues for example, and so, depending on the type of event, you may want to consider professional security companies.

Always make sure the security company you use are Security Industry Authority (SIA) qualified. Good security personnel will also be first aid trained adding to your cover.


Tip 7: consider your First Aid support

By all means ask those who have roles in your event who have first aid qualifications but don’t rely on these people as your primary first aid cover. Your primary first aiders need to be dedicated to this role should an incident occur.


Tip 8: Safety Advisory Group and Event Management Plans

Depending on the geographical location of your event you may be asked to present the plan for your event at a Local Authority Safety Advisory Group (SAG) which will consist of local authority representatives such as Health and Safety officers, police, fire and ambulance services.

They will want to see your Safety Management Plan (also known as Event Management Plan (EMP)) or sometimes CDM Document (Construction Design Management).

Even if you are not required to present to a SAG group, developing an Event Management Plan is a good idea as its a great tool for communicating to your team, suppliers and the emergency services for example.

Bear in mind that some SAGs insist on up to 3 months notice of your event and a completed Event Plan. 


Tip 9: consider the environment

Reducing your carbon footprint when organising an event can be a daunting task, however, there are some simple things you can consider, such as employing local suppliers for your equipment thereby reducing transport requirements and having the added advantage of putting something back into the local economy. Consider also for example, bio fuel generators and LED lighting. Also check out the environmental policies of the suppliers you are using and talk to Local Authorities about any ideas that they may have. Do some research into the current thinking and ideas.


Tip 10: have fun!

Your event is probably designed to entertain and/or to educate people and so it’s important for you to have fun too. By following the tips above you should be adequately prepared for your event to happen safely without too many last minute hitches. Organising and being responsible for an event can be very stressful, try and keep a sense of humour at all times. Enjoy the event yourself and you will be more likely to do it again!


Written by

Peter Herbert, PH Productions



Peter has worked in a variety of technical roles within the theatre and events industry for over 30 years and for the past 19 years as Director of PH Production Services Ltd focusing on delivering solutions for site specific projects. This means that he enjoys many days staging shows in unusual spaces like cathedrals, castles, stately homes, industrial spaces and green field sites. His wide ranging experience stems from the variety of positions held with repertory and touring theatre, conference and Theme Park industries. Peter’s team have also concentrated on the emerging digital culture in recent years and are at the forefront of live steaming technology usage within the theatre, music and conference industries.

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