Performing Arts Graduate
Back to Graduate Stories |
When did you graduate and what degree did you complete?
I graduated in 2011, Performing Arts (Technical Theatre) BA (hons)
Tell us about your current role - what does it entail?
I am currently part of the lighting department at the Cambridge Theatre, London, working on the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Matilda: The Musical . My role entails being the stage electrician for performances, split with operating the lighting board and occasionally operating a followspot. Being part of the department means keeping all lights in working order and keeping everything up to date and to the highest professional standard possible.
I am also currently a freelance lighting designer and have just finished lighting my first show in the West End which was ‘Ushers: The Front Of House Musical’.
What excites you most about your work?
The end product! Working so hard to achieve something you love is always a great joy. Whether it’s a show that’s been running for a while and it’s just a case of getting to the end of the show knowing you had an input into something quite special or being a creative on a new show and adding your own style to it. It’s always exiting being able to be part of a show that you have worked on from the ground up. The end product tends to be very rewarding and a reflection of the hard work put in by all involved.
What advice would you give students trying to get into your profession?
This industry is very dog-eat-dog. You have to show why you’re right for the job or the role, as there is always someone else who wants to prove it too. Confidence is a big factor. I’ve always believed in being level-headed in an industry that can sometimes not be. Set reasonable goals for yourself, ones you know you can achieve and that help build your confidence. Learning from the people above you is, without a doubt, the best way to get the most from your job, at any point in your career!
In what ways did studying at CCCU prepare you for your current role?
For me it was being in a theatre environment where you could take your time to figure out what needed to be done. I’ve always found the best way to learn is to actually do it. CCCU allowed me to do this but with the guidance of tutors and other students. They taught me the key skills I needed to take into my profession in a very simple and secure way. Being allowed the time to learn the skills I needed meant it was embedded in my head for when I needed it. I also found the tutors were very good at adapting work to the way the individual student saw things, making it easier for each person to learn new skills.
Do you have a favourite memory of your time at CCCU?
I really enjoyed the fact that the year intake was quite small so we were all such great friends, much like a theatre company.
I always loved the end of year musicals. Building a show from the very first ideas is just the same as when you’re out in the big wide world of theatre. By that I mean it was stressful, intense and exhausting. Exactly the way it should be!