DWR hosted a group of second-year students from the Department of Performing Arts Technology at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) for product training on 14 February 2015.

With a revamped syllabus, developed by Hardus Koekemoer, the lighting department lecturer at the Entertainment faculty, and Wandile Mgcodo, a technical manager at the the Breytenbach Theatre, which is the TUT training venue, this was the first time the 36 students were taken on a field trip, particularly to a lighting supplier to see the latest technology available.

“It’s a matter of getting the students switched on,’ comments Koekemoer. Majority of students sign up for the three year diploma not fully aware of what the course entails and some had never seen a live show before or even stepped a foot inside a theatre.

“That said, our retention rate is 99%, if not 100%,’ he says. A large number of the industry’s finest have trained with Koekemoer including Mark Gaylard from MGG Productions, Theo Rood from MJ Event Gear, Francois van der Merwe from Wizardry Group, Theo Papenfus from Stage Effects, Mauritz Jacobs from Dream Sets, Christiaan Ballot from Blond Productions and Setshaba Moumakwe, a young technician at DWR Distribution.

When Koekemoer joined TUT 22 years ago, having worked in South Africa, Belgium and the Netherlands as a lighting designer and technician, it was the norm for the entertainment industry in South Africa to hire extra hands off the street. The TUT programme has been a mind shift, offering rental companies and theatres with staff who won’t compromise on safety, who are able to rig light shows with product knowledge and practical training. No other institute in South Africa offers this.

Nick Britz from DWR Distribution presented the product training to the TUT students and the demo room was filled with a buzz of passionate individuals. For DWR, it’s a privilege to be part of learning and training projects that influence young minds, says Britz.