The P.A. People Summer UPDATE – March 2024
Installations, Major Events, Engineering & Equipment, People & Service


Now under one roof, Australia’s most experienced venue integrator has the proven capability to design, engineer, manufacture and integrate theatre machinery, performance audio & lighting, and AV systems. Our new 3600m2 facility provides technical spaces, fabrication workshops, warehouse and office spaces, along with a large drape fabrication facility.

The new building also houses the Event Communications team and incorporates a comprehensive event preparation space.

“Our team are the people that make the difference. I am proud of each of them and the way they are motivated to continually step up,” said Chris Dodds.

AO Australian Open

AO ‘logo device’ greets patrons at 2024 tournament!

The AO ‘logo device’, created for Tennis Australia by The P.A. People first appeared at the Australian Open in 2017. It returned to its annual pride of place at this year’s first Saturday opener and greeted hundreds of thousands of patrons throughout this iconic tournament!

“Our experience in designing bespoke mechanical solutions as part of AV systems integration, coupled with our work around the world on large scale events, led us to believe we could create a viable and cost-effective solution,” said Chris Dodds, who took the design lead on the AO logo (device) project back in August 2016, in preparation for its first showing at the Jan 2017 event.

The solution was based on a stainless-steel space frame structure… MORE

Our People make the Difference!

Our company delivers services through 4 departments – Sales Hire Service, Venue Engineering, Installed Systems & Event Communications. A brief overview of our services and some of our key team leadership follows:

With our head office in Sydney and now with growing interstate representation, The P.A. People has continued to build a team with broad-based skills over its’ more than 50-years continuous operation. MD, Chris Dodds said. “Tasks, systems, equipment, and locations change over time – but our people have always made the difference. It is significant to hear from our clients and suppliers that we are considered a ‘partner’ in their business, and that simply is not possible without consistently good people” said Chris.

Venue Engineering – Peter Grisard

Peter Grisard heads Venue Engineering: “We have a reasonable amount of grey hair in my Venue Engineering team” Peter says. “We are a unique combination of young talented designers with new ideas, working with highly experienced senior staff to deliver some of the largest staging projects in Australia and New Zealand. Part of my role is understanding the client needs and then to bring these back to the team to determine what is possible, what are the options, and what is not possible.”

Peter continues “safety is always the paramount concern, and we must constantly remind both ourselves and our clients that in this field of work, we lift, suspend and move objects over audiences and performers.” The grey(ish) hair in the Venue Engineering team also belongs to Andrew Mathieson, and Jim Parmley, two of the country’s most experienced theatre equipment engineers.

Installed Systems – Brett Steele

“With audio, av, lighting, stage control, foyer systems, theatre machinery and the relevant design, fabrication (metal, timber, fabric) and sewing room all in-house, it gives us an ability to control the process in one location” said Brett Steele, head of Installed Systems. “This adds to the confidence of our whole team and better informs the solutions we can bring to a client’s task” he said.

“Our team have a keen interest in what they’re doing; it’s not just a job” said Brett. “For them, it’s about understanding the client’s functional requirement and unpacking that to bring an appropriate solution to their task.” In a recent project, all these collective team skills were involved across three projects for Sutherland Shire Council in NSW; (Pavilion Entertainment Centre, Memorial Hall and the Council Chambers); from a sensitive heritage project to an entire ‘new-build’ performing arts facility.

The Installed Systems team also includes AV Design Manager Ian Laird, Drapery Manager Nayana Ratnawardana, and a significant team of some twenty plus project managers, control system engineers, fabricators and installers.

Event Communications –
Nicky Dodds & Team

The P.A. People Event Communications team is headed up by Nicky Dodds.  Nicky returned to the business during COVID, but is no stranger to the rental side of the business, having worked as part of the team on many of our projects since the late ‘80’s.

“While we are known internationally as a key supplier of large-scale communication systems for Olympic-scale events, our local work also involves a significant audio component.  With clients that include the Australian F1 Grand Prix, the Vivid Festival for Destination NSW, New Years Eve Fireworks for the City of Sydney, Tennis Australia and the Sydney Kings, we can provide audio and communications systems for almost any event” Nicky commented. From a distributed speaker system for a street parade to a concert system with multiple Yamaha Rivage consoles and our ShowMatch array systems, through to hundreds of radios, beltpacks and keystations, we have the people and the gear to assist any production or event.

Integral to the Event Comms team’s current capability is the retention of all our key personnel through the pandemic, something that has reaped dividends in recent times.  “Communications is all about the people; we were able to increase our inhouse training regime during those years and now have one of the largest and most capable teams in Australia” Nicky concluded.

Service & Maintenance – Angie Doyle

Angie Doyle leads Service and Maintenance for The P.A. People, ably supported by Tim Pike and Cheryl Gunders in the Gold Coast office. The P.A. People Service team’s diverse skills are comprehensive and enable us to handle multiple audio visual and venue engineering systems simultaneously for a single customer, say – in the case of a large performing arts venue, or a comprehensive site-wide systems audit for an education facility – right through to a basic single-issue equipment service call.

Angie summarises her department’s credential – ‘a diverse skill set and experience – the youngest employee is 19 and the eldest is 78. The team is mixed with senior experience in both AV and Venue Engineering fields; continual training, development and upskilling of technicians; SYD, VIC & QLD-based technicians with the ability to operate across all Australian states (and even a recent visit to New Zealand); staying at the forefront of industry advancements with tools, diagnostic equipment, software systems etc; flexible scheduling to accommodate customers; a range of services – routine maintenance, troubleshooting, in-house/onsite repairs and installations – and 24/7 support availability* (by maintenance agreement).’

Drapery is now in-house

As part of the move to their new Greenacre site, The P.A. People have added a significant new drape fabrication facility to their portfolio.  “Ever since the Company acquired the TheatreQuip business, having our own drape fabrication facility was part of the plan.  Now, as part of the fit-out of our new 3,600m2 building, we have been able to incorporate a substantial sewing room to service the needs of our industry clientele” said Nayana Ratnawardana, Drapery Manager.

With three permanent staff the spacious room is able to create all manner of drapes and theatrical cloths from IFR velvets up to 600gsm, wool serge, blackout, molton, filled cloths and sharks tooth Cyc’s and many other specialty fabrics, suitable for professional theatres, arenas and auditoriums, schools, conference centres and smaller spaces.  Alongside our proprietary TheatreQuip curtain tracks and fittings our new drapery facility ensures we are now able to provide a complete drapery package for any performance requirement.

Drape enquiries should be directed to ‘venueengineering@papeople.com.au

Trinity College Theatre SA

The P.A. People deliver venue engineering for new $24mil Theatre project for Trinity College SA.

Head of Venue Engineering for The P.A. People, Peter Grisard, is delighted that The P.A. People could assist in delivering an outstanding project outcome. “We engaged with Mossop Constructions from the outset to design and deliver the key staging elements including motorised hoisting, massive hinged acoustic panels, motorised overhead acoustic reflectors and a motorised stage platform. The functionality of the staging systems and equipment allows the venue to be quickly transformed into either a concert hall or into a theatre. A high-quality outcome for which the College, the builder and the theatre consultants should be congratulated.”  … MORE

Stage QLD 2024 Conference … The P.A. People, inaugural Platinum Sponsor

Speaking before the Technical Managers’ Conference (held at the iconic Empire Theatre in Toowoomba in February), Manager of Venue Engineering at The P.A. People, Peter Grisard said; ‘we are delighted to be attending and sponsoring this year’s Conference. There is a high level of interest in key topics that affect the Venue sector, with many people at the table from the QLD venue industry to lead and engage with those discussions. This Conference is a great opportunity to energise a comprehensive Venue conversation and a great kick-off for the new year.’

Stage QLD said of the event: ‘…This provides a unique opportunity for Technical/Operations Managers and staff from performing arts centres in Queensland to gather together to share ideas, policies and practises for the betterment of the arts sector as a whole. With the Trade Show integrated into the event it also provides an opportunity to keep up-to-date with the latest sound, lighting, staging and production trends and technologies, presenting a valuable networking and exchange platform for delegates, vendors, and industry to build and strengthen relationships.’

New Memberships – VAPAC & ETNZ

We have added to our industry support & engagement with the following:
(full list at papeople.com.au/professional-memberships-awards/)

The Victorian Association of Performing Arts Centres (VAPAC) is a peak body support network for performing arts venues. We provide this support through professional development programs and play a key role in developing and maintaining a vibrant and sustainable performing arts sector. VAPAC also drives touring opportunities via the delivery of Australia’s leading state-based performing arts market, Showcase Victoria.

Entertainment Technology New Zealand is a professional association of entertainment technology industry practitioners supporting people involved in the technical aspects of the theatre, event, and entertainment industry. This includes, but is not limited to, technicians, craft persons, and designers. ETNZ provides this support through professional development, advocacy, and safety.

Contact us at:

Venue Engineering: venueengineering@papeople.com.au
Event Communications: eventcomms@papeople.com.au
Installed Systems: sales@papeople.com.au
Service: service@papeople.com.au
Phone: 02.8755 8700 / Visit: www.papeople.com.au