Special recognition for growing Stage One

AN innovative Yorkshire business has been presented with a Queen’s Award after seeing turnover escalate and new export opportunities arise.

Stage One, based in York, is the creative company which built the 2012 London Olympic Cauldron, and now as revenues rocket, it hopes to launch another office and continue bolstering its business.

Last year group turnover was at £16m, and this year, it hopes to record a turnover of £25m. The firm, which also has offices in Australia and Qatar, and has recently opened a new site in Russia, plans to tap into the Southeast Asia market, especially Hong Kong.

Mark Johnson of Stage OneMark Johnson, managing director, said: “We are a growing company and we do a lot of exporting. We export whenever there is a ceremony or Olympic Games we are involved in and as a world-wide business, we are now hoping to move into Hong Kong.”

Lord Crathorne, Lord Lieutenant for North Yorkshire, presented the 2013 Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the category of Continuous Innovation to Stage One in recognition of ten years’ work in finding ways to realise the creative visions of its clients in the events, theatre and architecture industries.

This decade of innovation and ingenuity encompasses flying scenery and performers over stadia for Olympic opening ceremonies and developing new composite panel manufacturing techniques for architecturally complex structures.

Mr Johnson said: “Everybody in the business is proud of receiving this award. It helps us to realise the achievements we have made in the last ten years and we are really proud of it.

“We are an R&D based company – innovation is the core of the business. Collaboratively our job is to make a vision a reality. We say we can do it and provide a workable solution with a budget in mind.”

Stage one employs around 100 people and current projects vary in scale from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi to the manufacture of a Zaha Hadid designed kitchen wrap for the Sackler Gallery social space.

Previous projects include the Athens 2004 Olympic Ceremonies, the London production of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; Cirque du Soleil’s touring show Zarkana and television sets.

The company works with a huge range of entertainment and corporate clients and creates exhibition and event staging for a corporate client base that includes Coca Cola, BP, British Airways and DreamWorks, as well as many of the world’s leading automotive companies.

“We are reasonably confident for the future,” Mr Johnson said.

“We’re always looking for new projects and are getting interest coming in.

“We are now working on bolstering our management team and looking to start an apprenticeship scheme.”