For Kyle Evelyn and Dan Reese, no two days on the job are the same.
Kyle and Dan are part of the Technical Services team at H3, responsible for sound, lighting, rigging, audio-visual and IT work vital for ensuring performances, matches and events are to the world-class standards the staff and customers expect. The team has nine full-time staff and 10 casual employees.
Both sound engineers by profession, Kyle and Dan work across all of the H3 venues – Seddon Park, FMG Stadium Waikato, Claudelands and The Grandstand.
“Every event brings different challenges in terms of the build and the plans we are given,” says Kyle, who’s been full-time with H3 for five years.
The mix of events is remarkable: the Tech Services team supports all events, performances and matches, meaning it can be a small meeting or conference today, a concert performance the next day, a banquet or gala dinner a few days later, then a major international sports fixture to wrap up a busy working week.
During the set-up – or “pack-in” – for a performance by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra at Claudelands, Dan and Kyle worked alongside colleagues setting up trusses for lighting, acoustic panels and various other tasks needed.
The Technical Services team has a weekly production meeting to plan ahead for upcoming events.
“That’s usually on a Tuesday,” says Dan. “It ties in with what’s coming up in the week ahead.”
Says Kyle: “Once you get to the event you’ll be looking at the specific plans, and there’s ‘toolbox talk’ in the morning when we all get together to have a chat about the tasks ahead and look at our crew schedule.”
Dan says the team’s work has also extended to activating public spaces and delivering technical support for events beyond the H3 venues – projects which add a new dimension to their work.
The work the Technical Services staff do is based on the scale of the event, reflected in the days leading up to it – when they put in their greatest effort. For a major event, like the HSBC World Rugby NZ Sevens at FMG Stadium Waikato, they will be on-site for several days moving in equipment and running several of kilometres of cables which will ultimately be hidden during the event.
“It’s a beast, that one – the cable runs are huge!” says Kyle of the Sevens. “There’s weeks of set-up, and you can’t see anything you’ve done because it’s not a performance or a show, where you’ve got lights and trusses and a PA.”
During this year’s Sevens, Dan was responsible for monitoring and maintaining equipment, extending to keeping an eye on data and internet speeds across the venue.
Dan says one of the most fascinating aspects of the job is seeing how different shows and companies set up for performances and events: “You look at those little production details and think ‘oh wow, that’s how it runs!’.”
The dynamic event environment also means there’s a fair bit of shift work to undertake, but the team has an elaborate and carefully planned roster to make sure all events are appropriately covered off.