It may be true that all the world’s a stage and all of us merely players, but if nobody can see or hear us, who’s to know?
Throughout the ages performers have relied on technical support and from the greatest thespians to the most humble of amateurs, all gratefully acknowledge the part played by the sound, light and stage crew.
Applications are open again for Lighthouse Young Technicians, a nationally recognised training course for 12 young people aged 16-19 eager to get to grips with lighting, sound and stage management in a variety of indoor and outdoor settings.
Guided by industry specialists, young people navigate all elements of technical theatre to gain the experience that may set them on course for a future career.
“As a young person making your way in technical theatre, it is very important to do what is right for you,” says Poole-based international lighting designer and course tutor James Smith.
“There is no right way to start a career in technical theatre – for some the answer is university, for others it could be an apprenticeship, or a job at their local theatre where they can build their skills. All roads will end in the same place where the aim should be to produce good quality collaborative entertainment.”
The course costs £150, although bursaries are available, and provides a foundation that will enable Young Technicians to specialise.
“There are few if any courses like this available in this country,” adds James. “The students get lots of hands-on experience and crucially it’s real world training in a working multi-venue arts facility working on shows and events indoors and outdoors.”
James has more than 15 years of professional experience lighting musical theatre, plays, pantomimes, live music and events all over the world. His enthusiasm for teaching Young Technicians is clear, as is his rapport with the group, and in designing the course, he was clearly guided by the kind of course he wishes had been available when he was starting out – it’s practical, hands-on and it matters because the students are working on real shows in real time.
“I have been in the industry from the age of 14. I was born with a lack of hearing and really struggled with my speech. My mother decided the best thing for me was to attend a weekend drama school to help develop my confidence.
“I soon realised that being in front of the curtain was not for me but all the buttons on a lighting desk were!”
And his advice for the theatre technicians of tomorrow…?
“Take any opportunity you are offered and seek as much experience as you can. Nine times out of ten it’s about being in the right place at the right time with the right people.”
To find out more email firstname.lastname@example.org.