Working with industry professionals who represented Stage Management, Lighting, Sound, Stage and Scenic Flying, participants got the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in flying scenery, rigging and focusing lights, working with a sound desk, and practising how to manage technical cues during a show. They scrambled through the roof of the theatre, learned how to read lighting plans, and created their own plans using scale.
I performed at Exeter Northcott previously as a child – It’s been really interesting to come back and learn what the extent of the Technical and Stage Management team’s involvement is from the very beginning of rehearsals to the show.
The Northcott staff also shared their real-life professional experiences of working at the theatre and in the industry in general; from life on tour and working events and festivals, to being self-employed, to working in community theatre settings and working with big production companies.
Due to family commitments my world has been shrinking and this course has really opened up possibilities for working within this industry. It’s been fabulous and really inspiring.
Open to anyone who is unemployed or economically inactive, anyone with a beginner’s interest in working behind the scenes in backstage or technical departments can apply to the Tech Futures Programme. In a pressure-free environment, participants are able to explore the technical theatre field and get a sense of whether a career behind the scenes may be for them. By the end of the programme, several participants had either received a job offer, or have started actively pursuing a career in technical theatre.
I feel like I will never watch a show the same way again, I will be thinking about what the Stage Management team is doing in the wings and watching the set fly in. I will remember when I had the chance to do that on Tech Futures.
Working backstage is a varied and exciting job that brings all sorts of challenges which we can share and learn from no matter our experience.
Planning for next year’s Tech Futures is currently underway. If this sounds like a programme you would like to get involved in, visit our Tech Futures page for updates on next round of applications.