Theatre lighting technician
Theatre lighting technicians employ high-level skills to prepare, rig, operate and maintain stage lighting systems and electrical effects. They produce the lighting effects seen in live theatre productions and their work can range from operating strobes, lasers and pyrotechnics to providing basic spotlighting depending on the production.
Lighting technicians work closely with lighting designers, sound technicians, the director and the stage manager to combine their skills and help create the live theatre experience.
- Interpreting a lighting designer's plan.
- Rigging, focusing and operating necessary lighting equipment.
- Programming consoles and loading automated colour change systems before a show.
- Taking cues from the stage manager.
- Operating manual and computer-controlled lighting systems during a show.
- Maintaining the lighting equipment in good safe working condition.
- Taking on frontline electrical maintenance duties when needed
- Operating within current health and safety regulations to ensure a safe environment.
- Keeping abreast of the advances in technologies and techniques in the industry.
Travel: not a routine part of the working day except for those employed with touring companies.
Working hours: usually long and unpredictable.
Location: in towns or cities throughout the country.
Opportunities for self-employment: unlikely.
- Fixed and touring theatre companies
- Theatre lighting sales and hire companies.
Salaries vary depending on theatre.
Specific degree subjects required
Open to non-graduates and graduates of any discipline.
A pre-entry postgraduate qualification is not a requirement.
Specific entry requirements
Relevant experience is essential. You may be required to possess a Stage Pass which by completing a safety awareness course designed specifically for theatre. Run in conjunction with the VEC in Dublin, Stage Pass is becoming the industry standard in Irish theatre.
Most training takes place on the job. Lighting technicians are expected to undertake additional training throughout their careers to keep their knowledge up to date.
Tips for application
Gain relevant experience. While the ability to rig, focus and fault-find are the minimum requirements, further skills such as lighting desk operation, roped access, electrical qualifications and other certificates are an advantage.
Skills and qualities
- Manual dexterity and an aptitude for electrical work and electronics.
- Creative flair and excellent attention to detail.
- Ability to work quickly and creatively as part of a team.
- Patience, stamina, physical agility and ability to work comfortably at heights.
- Good numeracy skills.