• Backstage Centre, Thurrock
  • Backstage Centre, Thurrock
  • Backstage Centre, Thurrock
  • Backstage Centre, Thurrock
  • Backstage Centre, Thurrock
  • Backstage Centre, Thurrock
  • The main space in use (image credit: Backstage Centre)
  • Main space with access platform (image credit: Caroline Shillabeer)
  • Exterior (image credit: Caroline Shillabeer)
  • Detail of exterior (image credit: Caroline Shillabeer)
  • Building exterior (image credit: Caroline Shillabeer)
  • Main space in performance (image credit: Backstage Centre)

...training the technicians of the future

National Skills Academy


Project summary


The National Skills Academy is a state-of-the-art training facility for the entertainment industry in Thurrock, Thames Gateway, as well as a national centre, rehearsal and administrative space.


Working together with employers, freelancers, colleges and training-providers throughout the country, the NSA delivers industry-endorsed training for young people and professionals. The scheme is supported by over 120 leading employers from theatre and live music, and is an ambitious vision to provide world-class training for the world's greatest stages.


Charcoalblue provided a full planning and technical systems design service for the project, including developing alternative master-planning proposals, creating area schedules and adjacencies plans, developing stagelighting, audiovisual and stage engineering proposals, and providing guidance on work at height considerations and related health and safety issues.


As well as undertaking a design role on the project, Charcoalblue also provided business consultancy services. We undertook extensive market research and offered subsequent business planning advice having looked at both the marketplace, and competition within the industry.  We were then able to offer a worldclass large-scale live music and performance rehearsal and development venue, which complements the educational offering. The industry and venue are now interacting successfully and hands-on, industry relevant training is available to students using the venue.


As seen on the first ever live presentation of The Only Way Is Essex - The Only Way Is... Purfleet!