Meet more of the Stagefreight drivers

We’ve introduced some of the team in a previous article and it grabbed people’s attention.

So, we thought it was time to introduce more of the team.

Read on to meet more of the great Stagefreight drivers.


Name: Allan Spencer

Allan Spencer has been driving for 23 years and stage trucking at Stagefreight for the last 18 years.

He’s the lead driver for Northern Ballet theatre tours and has been in this role for the last 2.5 years.

Allan Spencer Stagefreight Driver

Northern Ballet tours

On average he’s on tour with Northern Ballet for 9 months of the year and leads a convoy of six to nine trailers across the UK.

The latest production was The Nutcracker that featured a stunning reindeer sleigh prop. And he’s excited about 2019’s brand new Victoria production.


In-between his Northern Ballet stage tours, Allan helps out with event transport jobs across the UK and Europe. One of the more unusual jobs was transporting some snowmen and elephants for an ice show at Blackpool Tower.

Over the years, he’s become well travelled across Europe. He’s been to Istanbul, Marrakech, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Berlin and many more popular European destinations. He also speaks a bit of German, which comes in handy on trips to Berlin.

When asked about destinations that defied expectations, Allan said he was pleasantly surprised by Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Allan recommends St. Petersburg as a holiday destination to anyone, as it’s such a fantastic place.

Advice to young drivers

His tip to young drivers is to get a role with an entertainment transport specialist like Stagefreight. Stage trucking is one of the best jobs Allan has ever had.

There’s a great variety to the jobs, a lot of positive energy as clients are excited to see you and ready to unload the props. There’s always a warm welcome for Allan when he arrives at the theatre destination. As there’s often repeat tours with clients, Allan says that you can really get to know the client you’re working with. And if you get stuck in with the job you can be an extension of their team. You quickly become part of the crew.


Name: Chris Wilkinson

Chris has been driving a Stagefreight transport truck for just 1 year, but already it’s the best job he’s ever had.

His main focus during the last year has been on corporate event transport. He’s not just been helping the Stagefreight corporate clients with their transport needs, but he’s also helped to set-up for the events too.

This can-do attitude and super-helpful approach has put Chris in high demand with the corporate event clients. Some of our top clients have asked for him to be their driver on future conferences and events too. That’s great feedback for a driver who’s new to the event transport scene.

Chris Wilkinson Stagefreight Driver

The first trips

Chris has jumped into the deep end of the corporate event transport world, but is enjoying every minute of it.

In just 1 month he went to Madrid twice, and was pleased to be in the city centre as on his off-days he was able to explore this brilliant city.

He was also in Munich last winter, and got the chance to look around the German market near the airport, while he was there.

Chris’ very first trip though was to Ravenna, Italy. It was a 9-day trip with Opera North’s Kiss Me Kate Tour.

Find out more about this theatre transport tour in our case studies.

This trip to Italy was a first for Chris and a first for the Opera North team.


Sport events and music tours 

He was also on the team of the Boardmasters Festival back in August 2018. The annual festival near Newquay in Cornwall is an exciting event that combines live music with surfing, skateboarding and BMX competitions.

Since being a Stagefreight driver Chirs has also toured with some big music names. For a month and a half he helped out on a music tour for one of America’s most popular solo artists.

It’s all go for Chris though as 2019 promises to continue with the exciting event transport jobs. He’ll soon be completing corporate event transport jobs in Copenhagen.


Name: Paul Garfit


Paul Garfit is the lead driver for English National Ballet. He’s been driving for about 17 years and has been part of the Stagefreight team for roughly 12 years.

stagefreight driver Paul Garfit



He’s a very experienced lead driver, as he’s previously also been Northern Ballet’s lead driver.

Paul has worked in other transport industries, but came back to theatre transport as he really enjoys the challenge of theatre transport jobs.


English National Ballet tours

A typical English National Ballet tour consists of 6 trailers. Paul typically tours the UK with the team. He likes all the venues he’s been to when touring with English National Ballet.

But if he had to choose (and let’s face it, I specifically asked him to do just that), his favourite venues are in Edinburgh and Canterbury.

He likes Edinburgh due to the style of loading bays and he likes the challenge of Canterbury.

As Canterbury has a medieval style centre, driving in this cathedral city requires some good skills.

Edinburgh is not only a good venue, but has a great crew too who are really fast when it comes to unloading and loading.

Paul is currently on tour with English National Ballet’s “She Persisted” – one show with three bold works on and by women.

Advice to young drivers

Paul’s advice to young or new drivers is to never underestimate the focus you need when driving.

Always take your time and observe. Check and double check when driving. Beware of going into autopilot when on route as anything can happen.

Name: Ash Bateman 

Ash joined the Stagefreight team back in 2018 as a sub and became a full-time driver in May 2019.

He’s been driving for over 17 years and was previously driving across the UK in the general haulage and recycling sectors.

Ash has been getting stuck in across a variety of event transport jobs including music, theatre and corporate.

Ash Bateman Stagefreight driver

Music Tours in Europe

Being part of a 20 truck convoy across Europe was an eye-opener and quite a highlight for Ash, especially Russia and the Ukraine.

Previously Ash had mainly been to Iraq and Afghanistan as a driver in the army, so this tour offered more countries to add to the list.

The band Ash was doing the music transport for is up there as one of the music legends. Despite being in their 70s, they still know how to rock!

Advice to young drivers

Ash’s advice to young drivers is to always listen. If you listen to the task and what you’ve been asked to do you can’t go wrong.

Ask for clarification if need be, but if you do as you’re asked you’re offering great customer service.

And if you’re keen to get on the road as a driver yourself, get in touch to enquire about our latest vacancies.

If you’re in the entertainment business yourself and you need a reliable transport expert, we could be just the ticket.

View all our transport services on our website.

Or give us a call us on 0113  238 0805 right now to discuss your tour or event.

Meet the Stagefreight Drivers

We’re a friendly bunch and enjoy to help you put your show on the road.

But while we’ve mentioned that we’re a friendly lot, you may not have met all of us.

Following our initial look at the team behind the scenes, here are two more team members and Stagefreight drivers to get to know!

Have you met JP?

JP is one of our drivers, who’s specialised in conference transport across Europe.

JP Stagefreight driver

He’s frequently been to Budapest and Vienna.

One of his most memorable travel moments was a penthouse stay in the sunny Marbella. Nice.

He’s built a very good relationships with several key transport clients with whom he’s been travelling for the last 5 years.

His top advice to new team members is:

“A can-do attitude is essential. You get out what you put into the job – and you get the most out of helping.“

JP has now moved into a client services role in the office.

While his trips across Europe are over, he’ll still be chipping in to drive across the UK, while also being a key contact for clients.


Have you met Stuart Douglas?

Stuart is our lead driver for Opera North, which is one of key clients with whom we’ve built a long-lasting relationship.

Stuart Douglas Stagefreight Driver

He’s been the lead driver for the last 5 years; but has a career in driving for events panning the past 14 years.

Good attention to detail and staying on top of the plan is essential for Stuart’s role, as he’s used to organising up to 16 trailers which include the equipment for 3 different shows.

The shows alternate within the week, so Stuart is arranging the storage, loading and unloading of 3 shows across 16 trailers.

Keep in mind that every show has to be taken down and the equipment stored, while the next show gets prepped.

This can take between 2 to 6 hours (depending on the size and complexity of the equipment and props). Timing really is key, but Stuart is there to make sure everything goes like clockwork.

He’s got a lot of experience of touring the UK with Manchester currently being his favourite venue due to the handy loading bays this particular venue has.

Have you met Ian Lowe?

Ian has been a driver for the last 27 years and even has driving experience in the Middle East.

He’s currently on a one-trailer tour around the world with the music legend that is Joan Baez.

Alright for some, right?

He’s just got back from completing the first leg of the tour, which included Scandinavia, UK, Ireland & Northern Ireland, Germany, Bosnia and the Czech Republic. Some countries are simpler than others, but none is too tricky for Ian as he knows which custom forms are needed for when plus what timing to keep an eye on.

The second leg of the Joan Baez tour kicks off in May 2018 and there are plenty of UK destinations, such as London, Bristol and Manchester before touring Europe via Hamburg, Berlin, Paris, Rome, Vienna and Amsterdam – just to name a few. The tour continues in the USA and Canada for the last quarter of the year. It’s a huge tour, so it’s good that Ian has some of his favourite destinations on the list, too.

Berlin is one of his favourite places to be, as you can never get bored of Berlin – or so Ian tells us.


Have you met Ant Hayes?

Ant is best known within the team as the lead driver for Birmingham Royal Ballet jobs, but he has two main claims to fame within the Stagefreight team.

The first is due to his nickname as Malta man, since if there’s a transport job in Malta he’s the man for the job.

The second part of his stardom is due to his recent involvement with transporting 7,500 Mr Kipling cakes which were designed into a BFG masterpiece.

Stagefreight driver ant hayes with his truck

Not one of our everyday type of loads, but goes to show that we can handle any transport job.

Ant Hayes with Mr Kipling BFG cake

Our Ant has quite a bit of experience, when it comes to unusual loads. In previous work outside of event transport he’s transported a 250 tonne power module, helicopter propellers and jet engines.

For Stagefreight he’s previously driven a giant teapot across the UK on behalf of Yorkshire Tea for the 2014 Tour De France.


There’ll be more driver and team member insights to come, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for some theatre, music or event transport, why not have a closer look at our services pages or contact us today 0113 797 898