Showcase Entertainment Group Limited's Company Director Layton Lillas has promoted and worked with entertainment that has ranged from small New Zealand country pubs to London’s Royal Albert Hall. He believes in live music and operates on the ethos that regardless of whether you’re a solo performer playing with an acoustic guitar or a star with a room of Grammy awards, the philosophy stays the same. The stage is a sacred place and anyone who steps on it has a duty to entertain.
Graduating with a degree in Business Management with majors in Marketing and Japanese in 1996, Layton a musician himself went on the road for six years in New Zealand with the band ‘Alive’. ‘When you’ve done 2000 gigs you know what it takes to put on a show in front of anyone and win them over’. ‘Alive’ toured throughout New Zealand playing as far south as Invercargill and everywhere in between. Even Inangahua…been there? Didn’t think so!
Whilst playing with Alive Layton combined his business training with the music business and first worked for a local Entertainment Agency ‘Total Entertainment’ before starting up his company ‘Showcase 2000’. Between 1999 and 2001, Showcase 2000 toured over 20 tribute shows from Australia and the UK through New Zealand Chartered Clubs with much success.
In 2001 as Layton had started selling New Zealand bands into venues in Asia, the opportunity came for ‘Alive’ to take up a residency at The Hard Rock Café, Dubai. This was a huge success and the band of kiwi’s made a lot of friends from all around the world through their music. This included a couple from Kampala, Uganda who hired ‘Alive’ to come to their bar in Uganda to perform a Christmas / New Years residency.
Once the Dubai contract ended the decision was made for ‘Alive’ to move to London to perform in the Aussie / Kiwi nightclub chain of bars which were growing rapidly called ‘The Walkabout Inn’s’. Playing the Walkabout’s saw ‘Alive’ perform to audiences from Glasgow in Scotland to Swansea in Wales and all over England.
In 2003 Layton returned to the business side of the industry employed with one of the UK’s biggest light entertainment agencies, ‘Henderson Management’ in Blackpool. Henderson Management had a stable of 100’s of tribute shows which Layton procured work for in territories outside of the UK. During the two years working for the agency he put shows into over 30 different countries throughout Scandinavia, Europe, Africa, The Middle East and Asia.
In 2005 Layton looked for a new challenge and got the opportunity to work as a Promoter for The Flying Music Company who were Concert Promoters and Theatrical Producers. During his time here he promoted the likes of Country Legend Glen Campbell, Blues Master John Mayall and The Bluesbreakers, 60’s stars Gerry and The Pacemakers and The Searchers, and three production shows which have enjoyed runs in London’s West End, ‘The Rat Pack Live from Las Vegas', ‘Dancing in the Streets’ and 'Thriller Live'. During this time he enjoyed working relationships with the managers of some of the UK’s biggest and most prestigious Concert Halls and Theatres. In his final week working for the company Layton fulfilled a personal dream of promoting a sold out event at London’s Royal Albert Hall which he did with ‘Abba The Show’.
Since returning to New Zealand in 2007 when Layton reopened the doors of his company as Showcase Entertainment Group Ltd, the company has successfully promoted US group TOTO famous for their hits ‘Africa', ‘Rosanna’, ‘Hold the line’ in 2008, Gerry Marsden from Gerry & The Pacemakers for three sold out Concert Hall tours of New Zealand in 2009, 2011,and 2013 and one tour of Australia with the band in 2013, sold out theatres and arenas with Air Supply in 2013 and The Seekers in 2014, the UK's No. 1 Psychic Medium Derek Acorah and Bonnie Tyler the smokey voiced singing legend famous for her No. 1 hits 'Total eclipse of the heart' and 'Its a heartache' in 2010, and three sell out tours of Wineries, Concert Halls and Arena's with 60's Supergroup The Hollies, as well as many domestic artistes such as New Zealand entertainment legend John Rowles for five New Zealand tours, and two Australian concert tours.