The P.A.People acquires TheatreQuip
… Peter Grisard heads new Venue Engineering team, new office to open in QLD

Article by Jason Allen

Over their 50-year existence, the Installed Systems team at Sydney institution The P.A. People have done their share of Venue Engineering, getting involved in the design and supply of staging and hoisting systems, custom making bracketry, fabrication, and more. The P.A. People’s recent engineering works include the iconic ‘AO’ Australian Open LED screen device for Tennis Australia, the design, fabrication, and installation of the 10-tonne motorised gondola and motorised LED screen support structures for the refurbished Ken Rosewall Arena at Sydney’s Olympic Park, and replacing the loudspeaker chain motors at Accor Stadium (Stadium Australia).

Recent changes in the Australian Venue Engineering market have spurred The P.A People to substantially increase their capacity to serve customer’s needs, and they’ve taken the leap by acquiring TheatreQuip, a well-respected name in the field for over 30 years, with its own IP and client base to match.

“We have been looking at expanding our capability to deliver staging solutions for quite some time,” explains Chris Dodds, Managing Director of The P.A. People. “Over the past few months, we have received numerous enquiries from across the country looking for alternative providers of staging design and delivery. In order to service the market in a timely manner, we needed to acquire people, expertise, and business, rather than having the luxury of building the business from scratch.”

TheatreQuip brings a wealth of theatrical experience and product to The P.A. People’s Venue Engineering portfolio, including a comprehensive range of drapes, curtain tracks and accessories, counterweight fly systems, portable staging, and theatre machinery. The P.A. People will be adding to this range, flagging that there will be many upcoming announcements relating to lighting bars, drapes and fabrics and new products.

Tim Pike - Peter Grisard - Michael Rafferty - TheatreQuip

I asked Chris what the first order of business is for the new arm of The P.A. People. “Everything!” he enthuses. “We need to make sure customers are being serviced, and that we have products in all relevant categories. We’re updating designs, and the opportunities are here today. We’re simultaneously extending our service, product development, design and engineering, and manufacturing capabilities.”

Michael Rafferty, proprietor of TheatreQuip since 2001, has now joined The P.A. People team “I am delighted that TheatreQuip is now part of The P.A. People,” says Michael. “I am looking forward to working together to deliver the very best staging solutions for venues. Chris has put together a very experienced team with a lot of familiar faces as well as some new ones and we have hit the ground running. We are looking forward to creating a new chapter for The P.A. People over the next fifty years by providing the best Venue Engineering solutions in Australia.”

To complement its acquisition of TheatreQuip, The P.A. People are pleased to announce that industry stalwart Peter Grisard is heading up the Venue Engineering group. The new team includes some of Australia’s best theatre practitioners including Andrew Mathieson in the role of Chief Engineer, Dallas Winspear, and Simon Steinfurth.

 Ken Rosewall Arena Gondola TheatreQuip Peter is very enthusiastic about his new role “It has been great to join a company that is so well respected in the marketplace. In my previous role, I worked with Brett Steele and his team at The P.A. People extensively, but I had not realised the depth of engineering that the company has developed over its fifty years. Everything they do is engineering focused, from their Events and Service teams through to the Installed Systems division. The expansion into Venue Engineering is a natural fit for The P.A. People.”

The new team has hit the ground running and are already actively engaged in the delivery of a number of significant Venue Engineering projects including a full counterweight system for Sutherland Entertainment Centre, drapes, tracks and lighting bars for the Bondi Pavilion, a full theatrical fit out for a new Performing Arts High School, and the supply of hoists and drapes for a number of other projects.

Tim Pike joins The P.A. People’s Venue Engineering team.

The P.A. People are pleased to welcome Tim Pike to their expanding Venue Engineering team in the role of QLD State Manager. “Tim will be based out of our new Queensland office on the Gold Coast,” says Peter Grisard, Manager – Venue Engineering. “Tim’s appointment will allow us to expand our commitment to Performing Arts Centres, Theatres and Venues on a national basis. In conjunction with our well-established Service team based in Sydney and a strong network of field technicians located across the East Coast, The P.A. People are now well positioned to provide contract maintenance and breakdown services to stage machinery and venues.”


The new office in Queensland will play a key role in allowing the Company to provide preventative maintenance services for local venues and theatres, and it will also provide local installation and rental support capability for our existing customer base.

“This is also a great opportunity for The P.A. People to being able to better support our Event clients and projects outside of Sydney,” says Nicky Dodds, Manager Event Communications. “Having a local base to help support our existing clientele will be invaluable, as well creating the opportunity to expand our offering for our new venue engineering customers in Queensland.”

For more information contact Peter Grisard, Brett Steele, Michael Rafferty or Chris Dodds at