Don’t ever ask Svenja Dunkel what she does for a living unless you have plenty of time to spare. When we speak to her, she is on the go as usual. She has always been a pioneer and, at first glance, she has quite an odd combination of hobbies. But if you take a closer look, these hobbies all revolve around the stage—and large-scale events. They all complement one another. Svenja fell in love with the circus when she was ten years old. Since then she has appeared on stage as an artist and has been a circus trainer for young people. She is also a trained drummer and has become a globally established performer in this field with a range of broadcasting programs.
In most of the jobs she has done, Svenja has been a trailblazer or, occasionally, a guinea pig. She wanted to work in event management before it was even heard of in Germany. Instead, she became one the first people to train as an event technician and has since established herself as an expert in radio communication. For Sennheiser and other customers, she took on the job of frequency manager for wireless microphone systems—long before the live performance industry realized that such a role was essential for major shows. Even today, Svenja is often shocked when a TV show that has been running successfully for many years is only now considering frequency management and the value of radio expertise in its live operations. For the past few years Svenja has been on tour with Germany’s most successful artist, Helene Fischer, ensuring that her system works flawlessly at all times—even in the largest stadiums in the midst of artistic and dance performances, LED screens and artificial rain.
“Often, when something doesn’t work as it should for no reason, radio is the first suspect, even if the error lies elsewhere. Radio is a mystery to many people as it has no real substance that you can see or feel,” says Svenja. But when it comes to problem solving, Svenja has a tried-and-tested solution to offer the onsite team: communication. “The principle of radio technology is very simple. There is always a transmitter and a receiver and they both need to be on the same wavelength to communicate with one another. It’s exactly the same with people. Somehow, I end up right in the middle of it all. I make sure that all the trades and therefore the people who are responsible for them speak to each other, because radio is multidisciplinary and acts as a kind of interface. Then I align my antennas and hope that we can all learn from each other and rely on each other throughout the production. After all, that’s the best thing about the job: pulling together to get the best possible result! The smile at the end makes it all worthwhile.”
Svenja’s passion for what she does is particularly evident when she introduces children and teenagers to the circus and sees them develop as young artists. Likewise, when she passes her knowledge on to future generations at her workshops for frequency managers or event technicians. It doesn’t matter whether the participants are ten or sixty years old, Svenja’s enthusiasm produces outstanding performances all round. “That gives me so much satisfaction,” she says, smiling. And, once again, it all comes down to the same basic principle. Send and receive—if you send out good energy, you will get the same back in return.