Supplying international entertainment for cruise and ferry partners

Live Business tells Rebecca Gibson how its expansion is enabling it to attract new talent and create bespoke entertainment for all nationalities

Supplying international entertainment for cruise and ferry partners
From left, managing directors Mark Dixon and Dan Lock are driving the success of Live Business

Formed in 1989, Live Business has redeveloped its business model to enable it to become one of the largest suppliers of international entertainment on land and at sea. Live was set up as a UK supplier producing theatrical concepts for predominantly British audiences, however it has now grown into a global provider of entertainment in Asia, the Caribbean and Central America, Europe, and the Artic Circle. 

Building an international entertainment brand provides lots of opportunities, but also involves complex challenges. One intricate part of Live’s operation is to ensure compliance, both on land for the extensive resort-based work it undertakes with TUI, and at sea for its cruise and ferry partners. 

Brexit brought real challenges, such as UK entertainers losing their automatic ability to work within the European Union (EU), making it harder to circumnavigate logistical operations for overseas staff. Live has solved this problem by establishing offices in Barcelona, Spain, allowing it to attract talented performers from both the UK and EU.  

“Being internationally compliant is fundamental to the successful delivery of our company’s product,” says Dan Lock, managing director of Live. “To have a real international presence from our offices in both London, UK, and Barcelona, we needed to expand our network of support and supplier partnerships into new territories. Building reputations, associations and, most importantly, trust with international government bodies and agencies takes time, but it’s allowed us to attract talent from all over the globe so we can represent the clients we provide services for.  

“Having a diverse client portfolio means we can offer performers multiple opportunities to work with many exciting brands, while continuing our long-term strategy of growth as a fully international company.” 

According to co-managing director Mark Dixon, changing customer behaviours and trends in the international markets mean that Live cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to creating entertainment offerings.  

“They have to be very versatile and resonate with guests from multiple territories who speak different languages and consume varied types of entertainment at home,” he explains. “It’s vitally important to work with an international team of creatives to ensure we’re providing concepts that work for all nationalities. Our team’s local knowledge of the territories we operate in has been crucial to our successful expansion.” 

Live designs entertainment content around local cultures and current trends, ensuring it is delivered in the audience’s own language. “Every client receives an industry-leading offering of wellness, sports, daytime events, light evening entertainment, live music, quizzes, gameshows, acts, musicians and production shows,” says Andy Rhodes, Live’s general manager, adding that the company oversees all recruitment and seasonal management for performers too. “For example, we’ve been working with TUI to deliver bespoke entertainment to German, Nordic and British markets for over five years and we’re looking forward to expanding our global offering within these territories based on innovation, originality and our passion for delivering international entertainment.”

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2022 issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. 

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
04 May 2022

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