Robin Shaw, Upstaging, Inc.

Robin Shaw
– Robin Shaw

The Influencers

Executives making moves that change the way others operate and challenge the status quo.

Robin Shaw
Upstaging, Inc.  

While Upstaging, Inc., is normally a national player in tour lighting, production and transportation, the company is now mass producing COVID-combatting technology. Within a week of the live shutdown, the company’s leadership organized a massive conference call to figure out a plan of action. 

“Our first thought was ‘What can we do to help?’” Robin Shaw of Upstaging told Pollstar. “We saw on the news that nobody was getting these PPE (personal protective equipment) face shields. We thought ‘Hey, we can make those.’”

Upstaging quickly designed and produced PPE face shields and the company’s first sale was actually a cold-visit where a driver brought a truck full of PPE face shields to a Chicago hospital, which happened to be in the middle of a shortage and bought them on the spot. 

Shaw estimates Upstaging now produces and sells 40,000 face shields within approximately three weeks and is passionate about their importance in all professional and public settings. The company now offers products including different sizes of face shields, counter and desk shields, divider walls, and a religious barrier solution with clients including nursing homes, prisons, private hospitals, individuals and school systems.

Upstaging’s biggest challenge is making people aware that their products exist, as many quickly opt for less-expensive (and Shaw says often lower quality) products manufactured outside the U.S.  

When the live business is able to come back she predicts shrunken budgets will invite the collaboration of production techs, managers, and lighting designers that had been going away as the tours became more profitable and productions grew increasingly elaborate. 

“The industry’s production managers and designers have been fortunate to be able to work with big budgets in the last few years, but it is their innate gift to make something look fabulous, regardless of budget. They will always create fantastic shows, it’s just the way their minds work,” Shaw said. 

The pandemic has shown Shaw the power of communication and she now knows much more about the people in her company, and in general she feels much of her approach towards work and life has changed. 

She says her biggest career success was her early transplant from Chicago to Los Angeles as a young woman and she names, among others, Brian Murphy of Avalon Attractions as a mentor who introduced her to the industry. 

Hot Takes

The Show That Changed Your Life?

Dog Day Rock, produced by Rich Floyd. Bob Seger was the header. Bob was singing ‘Turn The Page,’ there were probably 100,000 people and you could hear a pin drop it was so quiet. My heart swelled because I thought, ‘I’m a part of this, of making this moment.’

Artists To Watch Breaking Next Year?

There is an artist my daughter plays, Em Beihold. Every time I hear a song, I say ‘Oh my God, who is that?’ I don’t know anything about her other than I love her songs

Best Advice You’ve Ever Received? 

Fake it ’til you make it. That helped me in the early days. It helped to pretend to know what I was doing; it worked because nobody else knew what they were doing either.

Best Live Show You Saw This Year?

Miranda Lambert in Anaheim on Feb. 20. That might’ve been one of the last shows I saw.

Your Favorite Venue To See A Show At And Why?

Hollywood Bowl, other than the parking. I think it’s just a fun place to see a show, it’s a magical venue.

Technology Most Impacting Your Daily Work Or Personal Life?

In the past, it would have been cell phones or computers. In the future, I would say face shields. Who knows what the new tech will be?

The Role Of Livestreaming Moving Forward?

I’m waiting to see it advance a little bit more. Do I think it’s going to replace the live experience? No.