LiveX students spend the day ‘backstage’ at Rock Lititz

. . .

Thursday, September 28th, 2023

The inaugural class of students in the partnership between the Academy of Live Technology (ALT) and Pennsylvania College of Art & Design (PCA&D) recently had an exclusive backstage pass to witness a rehearsal by an international rock band at Rock Lititz. While the opportunity may not happen for every class, their full immersion in the live event production business is a given, from the glam to the gritty.

Immersive Industry Experience Day at Rock Lititz provides a hands-on education in some of the many physical and mental demands of live event production, from rigging to ratchet straps to stage setup. While first- and second-year classes are held at PCA&D’s downtown Lancaster campus, covering the Foundation year of art and design classes, the general education curriculum, and introductory LiveX major classes, students were treated to a day at the 108-acre Rock Lititz campus for a taste of what is to come in years three and four of earning a BFA degree in Live Experience Design & Production.

After experiencing the production rehearsal of a major artist in the stadium-like space of Studio 1, the students watched a rigging safety session in a complex, jungle gym-like training area of Columbus McKinnon, where senior technical trainer Brian Leister shared the importance of following specific technical procedures designed to save a rigger’s life.  

The competitive personalities among the students ignited during the Starter Skills Showdown. Instructions on cable coiling, operating pallet jacks and ratchet straps—all essential skills for on-site production—were demonstrated, then students were challenged to race to master the techniques. They moved on to the teamwork of setting up a small stage. 


“Rock Lititz offers the opportunity to impact the level and access of training available within the live entertainment industry, while also exploring alternative approaches to the overall college experience,” said Andrea Shirk, President and CEO of Rock Lititz. “Partnership students will learn next to specialty experts, working on active projects. The hands-on industry immersion, which complements the studio-based education at PCA&D, ensures a unique, immersive path for young professionals to earn an education, while also advancing their careers.” 

After the visit, it was back to the classroom for art history and the studio for digital imaging. Production and tour management, lighting design and sound engineering, stage and video production management are just a few of the careers that are possible with the skill sets covered in the LiveX degree’s curriculum. 

Under construction with a late spring 2024 completion target, the ALT at Rock Lititz facility includes 22,400 square feet of classrooms, production space, digital labs and a students’ common area. A fourth rehearsal studio is also included in the structure, which will accommodate artists who perform at clubs, theaters, and small amphitheater venues, while providing ALT students with hands-on experiences in production technologies. 

This inaugural experiential learning event was featured on two local news broadcasts, ABC27 and WGAL.