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New $10 million ‘Academy of Live Technology’ to open at Rock Lititz 

Cris Collingwood//March 13, 2023

New $10 million ‘Academy of Live Technology’ to open at Rock Lititz 

Cris Collingwood//March 13, 2023

A rendering of the Academy of Live Technology, set to open at Rock Lititz next year. PHOTO/PROVIDED
A rendering of the Academy of Live Technology, set to open at Rock Lititz next year. PHOTO/PROVIDED

Construction is underway at Rock Lititz for a $10 million new center that will educate the next generation workforce for the entertainment industry. 

Lancaster-based PA College of Art & Design (PCA&D) and UK-based Academy of Live Technology at Production Park (formerly Backstage Academy) have partnered to create the Academy of Live Technology (ALT) on the 108-acre campus at Rock Lititz.  

According to the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, the project will cost about $10 million. 

The partnership represents a global-scale collaboration, melding the strengths and expertise of Rock Lititz, PCA&D and the British higher education provider, which has provided live production creative, technical and professional skills to students since its founding in 2011. 

“When we began conversations with the Academy for Live Technology, we found in ALT a group of faculty and educational leaders that had the same ethos, the same care for students and the same belief in the future of creatives in our economy,” said PCA&D President Michael Molla. “We’re excited to partner with ALT and Rock Lititz to create what we believe will be the best live experience design program in the country.” 

Once open in the fall of 2024, students will attend their general education classes at PCA&D’s downtown Lancaster facilities, then receive their immersive technical education on the Rock Lititz campus, earning a four-year BFA degree in Live Experience Design & Production.  

Recognizing the proximity to several live experience and event production companies in the region, PCA&D added a major in Live Experience Design in 2021 to prepare art and design students for opportunities in the industry. 

ALT at Rock Lititz will adjoin the existing large-scale rehearsal spaces, Studio 1 and Studio 2.  

The structure includes 22,400 square feet of classrooms, production space, digital labs and a students’ common area, with the option of expanding to the second and third floors to meet future needs.  

A fourth rehearsal studio is also included in the structure, which will accommodate artists who perform at clubs, theaters and small amphitheater venues, while providing PCA&D students with hands-on experiences in production technologies.  

The 9,300 square-feet Studio B includes 7,000 square feet of open span space for rehearsals, product demonstrations and technical training sessions. 

ALT and partnership among Rock Lititz, PCA&D and Backstage Academy will be launched at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival at The British Music Embassy March 13 by Lee Brooks, CEO of Production Park and Rachel Nicholson of ALT, Andrea Shirk, president and CEO at Rock Lititz and Dr. Carissa Massey, provost of PCA&D. 

 “Rock Lititz offers the same rich community of innovators, experts, industry leaders, rebels and creators—a perfect place for students to learn. There is no better place in the USA for the Academy of Live Technology to land,” Brooks said. 

“We have an opportunity to impact the level and access of training available within the live entertainment industry, while also exploring new and alternative approaches to the overall college experience,” Shirk said.  

“Students will become industry professionals on day one, learning next to specialty experts and working on active projects. The hands-on approach, mixed with some traditional classroom access through a strong institution like Pennsylvania College of Art & Design ensures a unique and immersive path for young professionals to earn an education, while also advancing their careers,” Shirk said.  

“The live entertainment industry is innovative creativity at its best. It’s how you imagine, then actualize, what has never been done before. It’s what we ask of our students, to be bold, to see differently,” said Molla. “We are excited for this partnership that will empower creatives to infuse Rock Lititz with their energy and enthusiasm as ALT joins us to mentor and prepare an up-and-coming workforce. “