Automation: Operating, Programming and Equipment Inspection

person sitting at automation desk during an event

Key information:

Art form:
Production Arts | Skills for the Creative Industries
Level of study:
Short Courses & Summer Schools (ages 18+)
Mode of study:
Abroad: Centre de Creation, Dordogne, France
Easter Courses

Course info

This course has been postponed. Please contact us at if you have any questions. 

Ages 18+

About Automation: Operating, Programming and Equipment Inspection

Participants will learn about the fastest growing area of production arts in this new unique immersive six-day course. 

The course will introduce participants to automation operation and programming, including a basic introduction to the automation system and the role of the automation team in relation to the technical and production process.

It will cover TAIT eCham and iQ automation platforms using both Illusionist consoles and the new epiQ desk with hands-on experience with both desks. Participants will learn how to set up the working show environment. The course will also explore soft rigging inspection automation protocols and first line maintenance.

This course is a residential course that will take place at the Centre de Création in Dordogne, France. The Centre works in association with Anystage Creative Ltd, a global performance producer. The course has been developed by Anystage in association with TAIT. Please note that the course will be taught in English. 

Who is the course for?
  • All technical theatre professionals aged 18 and above interested in learning about automation
  • New automation operators or technicians wanting to introduce themselves to automation with a rigging or technical operator background in a show environment
  • There is no upper age limit on this course. We encourage and welcome participants from all ages 18 and over
What can I expect?

The course will be a combination of classroom teaching, discussions and practical use of control equipment at the Centre de Création. You will operate shows to video and also fly live performers during the course.

You can expect to learn about:

  • Operation and programming (using TAIT desks)                 
  • Automation system design components
  • Interface with rigging
  • Performer flying process
  • Operational safety protocols
  • Tools and menus available in iQ via the epiQ console, their use for show creation, automation control, and monitoring

By the end of the course, you will have learnt basic operation and programming also safety protocols and fully understand the integrating and planning the application and design of automation systems into the production process.

Participants will receive a certificate of completion signifying a level of competency in basic safe automation operation and equipment inspection at the end of the course. 

Course Fee


The course fee includes catering (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and accommodation at the Centre de Création but not travel and transfers. More information is available here

Travel to and from the Centre de Création will need to be arranged by the participants independently. Please contact if you have any questions. 

This course has been postponed. Please contact us at if you have any questions. 


  • For everyone aged 18+. There is no upper age limit on this course. We encourage and welcome participants from all ages 18 and over.
  • Participants must have sufficient English language skills to cope with course demands.

About the Course Tutors

The course is taught by Paul Cockle (Anystage Production Director), Kim Swaden-Ward (TAIT) and Nick Terstenjak (Anystage Rigger).

Paul Cockle leads Anystage Productions, an experienced theatre team specializing in show creation and production delivery. He ensures the successful execution of projects by contracting and overseeing the work of our project teams.

Paul's career began as a Stage Technician, progressing to roles such as Stage and Production Manager, Production Director, and Senior Show Producer. He collaborated with Stufish Entertainment Architects for over 15 years, contributing to projects such as the 2011 'Spirit of the Union' in the UAE.

His diverse background includes working in prominent UK repertory theatres such as the Manchester Royal Exchange and Leicester Haymarket. Also many Opera/Ballet projects managing productions for Welsh National Opera and Scottish Opera and the Royal Opera. As a Technical Manager at Covent Garden, he oversaw a large technical team and toured the Royal Ballet globally.

With the establishment of Anystage in 1997, Paul provided theatre production management and safety consultancy services. He managed the Millennium Show in London's Dome in 2000, followed by co-founding The Generating Company, a British Circus Company.

A strong advocate for technical and production training, Paul has been involved in various initiatives. He played a key role in setting up and promoting technical training in the UK, with the advent of Theatre Technical Training Services and the East Midlands production managers forum, for North West Arts he trained technical managers in Malaysia and Singapore, and is the only commercial representative on the UK-China Production training symposium delegation.

Paul manages the Centre De Creation in South West France, a residential centre supporting original idea development for major global projects. 

Kim Swaden-Ward has 20 years of experience working in the live event industry. He’s worked in many markets, such as theatre, circus, arena/stadium touring, outdoor events, music festivals, ceremonies, corporate activations, as well as film and TV. 

With a focus on rigging and automation, Kim’s work experience has showcased his skills in various roles, such as Senior Project Manager, Technical Manager, Production Manager and Show Programmer. After obtaining his first-class BA (Hons) in Technical and Production Management from the Central School of Speech and Drama (London) in 2004, Kim joined The Rigging Partnership (TRP) and worked on several projects, including Mary Poppins (West End), Kylie Show Girl (Arena Tour), Harry Potter (film), and the first use of Spider Cam in the UK (Wembley). During this time, Kim honed his skills in managing staff, equipment, and health & safety across multiple sites. 

After becoming General Manager, Kim left The Rigging Partnership in 2008 and freelanced for various projects before joining the National Centre for Circus Arts (NCCA) as Technical Manager in 2010. While working for the NCCA, Kim was responsible for providing safe aerial equipment and rigging support to all departments. This included training performers for the London 2012 Paralympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies, providing aerial rigs for film, and developing new and existing training spaces.

After working alongside TAIT on joint projects for several years, Kim joined the London TAIT office as a Project Manager in 2016, where he has managed jobs including the Bear Grylls Arena Tour, Baku ISG Opening & Closing Ceremonies, and King Kong Musical (Broadway). Having developed his technical skills, Kim transitioned to Technical Manager in 2019 to support company development and special projects. In 2023 Kim joined the newly created Show Programming department as Senior Show Programmer where he is currently supporting projects and team members throughout the project process while taking on the role of Show Programmer for top-tier projects.

Nick Terstenjak began his rigging career back in 2002. From 2002 to 2008, he worked for a variety of Cirque du Soleil shows, including the Big Top show Quidam. As a technical show rigger he was focusing on acrobatic rigging (including splicing rope for supporting aerialists, installing anchors and pulleys, rope and cable winch systems).

From 2008 to 2010 he worked as Assistant Head Rigger for Cirque du Soleil in Tokyo on the permanent show Zed. Nick trained the Japanese rigging crew on Cirque du Soleil’s methodology and safety culture for working with all things aerial and suspended.

He also worked extensively as a sub-contract rigging technician for various large-scale productions including arena and stadium rigging for Lady Gaga, Pink Floyd amongst others.

As a supervisor of rope access work, Nick has worked in many different environments such as wind turbines, bridges, dams, buildings, stadiums, and oil refineries.

In 2016, Nick made the big move to France with his family and now works for Anystage as a Technical Supervisor on various projects.

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