Industry Insiders: Top Tips from a Theatre Technician
Welcome back to our Industry Insiders: Top Tips from Industry Professionals series.
Here at The Courtyard we’re so fortunate to be surrounded by incredibly talented people who specialise in a diverse range of disciplines. From set designers, directors, technical operators and performers to musicians, writers, choreographers and teachers – we approached some of the fantastic practitioners for our Industry Insiders series that we work with to share their top tips for people who are looking to succeed in the arts.
Let us introduce you to Richard Loveridge.
Richard Loveridge is one of the technicians at The Courtyard, and had countless other careers until he came to realise, at the age of 40, that hiding in the dark and playing with all the coolest toys was definitely for him.
In his time here he has worked with hundreds of bands, dozens of comedians, designed musicals for both The Courtyard and a variety of local amateur companies, and been lead sound on the Courtyard Pantomime since 2013.
Here are Richard’s top tips for those looking at a career in Technical Theatre.
1: BE INVISIBLE
Seriously, nobody wants to see a technician! If you can get through a show and nobody has noticed that you’ve done anything, that means you’re doing your job properly. If you prefer to be the centre of attention, and like people looking at you, a career as a performer would be better suited to you.
2: BE FLEXIBLE
You may come to work thinking you’re going to be moving some scenery, and instead you spend the day trying to find a broken bulb. You may think you’re coming to help with the lighting, and instead you’re helping a musician ‘mic-up’ a bit of hardboard. Yes, both of these things have happened to me! You never know quite what you’re going to have to do to make the show work, so be prepared for anything.
3: BE INNOVATIVE
When somebody comes to perform on the stage, they could bring any piece of equipment, manufactured any time in the last 60 years and somehow, you’ve got to be able to make it work with the equipment you use. Problem solving and creative thinking are often necessary to help performers realise their vision of what the show should be.
4: BE CREATIVE
When a director asks at the 11th hour if you can add projection to a show, or a band forgot to tell you that a light is needed in a particular place and the audience are already taking their seats, you need to be able to find a way to make it work. Knowing the tools at your disposal and how they work is only half the battle. Knowing how to make them work without affecting what everyone else is doing, that’s the skill.
5: BE PATIENT
Technicians are often the first people to arrive and the last to leave. The band might have packed up and gone home, but the stage has to be ready for tomorrow. The hours are long, and often antisocial, but the satisfaction of knowing that another show has gone flawlessly, and the audience have gone home happy keeps you going.
6: LOOK GOOD IN BLACK!
The variety in your wardrobe is going to take a real dip. Everything you wear from now on will be black, so get used to looking like a cut-price Goth!