National Apprentice Week: Spotlight on Sound and Lighting Intern, Robin Williams
To celebrate National Apprentice Week, we’re shining the spotlight on a different member of Belgrade staff each day in a series of blogs. Today, our guest blogger is Sound and Lighting Intern, Robin Williams. Although his role as an Intern through Creative Access is technically not an apprenticeship, we wanted to highlight other routes towards a career in the arts. Below Robin shares his experience of working at the Belgrade and what he has learnt so far during his Internship.
The Belgrade Theatre offers a range of opportunities for young people to develop skills and experience working within the arts. As well as offering apprenticeships across various departments of the theatre, we also offer work experience placements, volunteers opportunities an run a Careers Day event called ‘Open Doors.’ Find out more.
Working as a ‘Sound and LX Intern’ at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry, is a great starting opportunity for me. Firstly, what interested me to this internship was gaining first-hand experience and building on my technical capabilities within theatre electrics, lighting and sound. Even though I have a broad knowledge in audio and sound from studying a BSc degree in Music Technology at Coventry University, I wanted to broaden my technical knowledge and learn from the theatre professionals about the technical aspects of theatre productions.
I have been in this internship for over two months now and in that time I have acquired new skills and learnt a range of different things in regards to theatre, theatre productions and stage electrics. Every day I am learning something new in the Sound and LX role, working on a variety of different tasks and assisting other technicians and stage crew, it is all about getting involved, strengthening and picking up new skills and experiences. I have learnt about the different types of lighting fixtures used on a theatre show (from a big scale production to a smaller scale production), why they are used and how they are rigged, patched in and controlled. During my first 4-to-5 weeks of the internship, whilst the theatre was ‘dark’, I got given the chance to help out the LX department with technical maintenance, which involved cleaning and inspecting the lanterns, cables, extensions and other LX equipment and then visually checking on each piece of equipment before it was PAT tested to be approved and readied for the new theatre season. After the maintenance period, I assisted with the first ‘fit-up’ for “CRUSH” which was a large-scale production, which took place in the main auditorium at the Belgrade Theatre. I learnt how the lighting fixtures were positioned and rigged to scale on counterweight bars as shown on the lighting plan. I also got to see from start-to-finish, the whole set being constructed and pieced together, in conjunction with how the lighting fixtures were used to complement and bring life to the set and scenery. Rigging, positioning and focusing lighting fixtures is a true skill in itself, I have had the opportunity to learn about the safety procedures when working on fit-up’s and rigging at heights to the various terminologies used by theatre professionals. I have also done follow-spotting for a midday variety show and assisting with other show fit-ups.
Every day that I go to my internship, I am excited that something new is happening in the theatre or is needed to be done in preparation for a new show, and from what I have seen and experienced, there is not a typical day when working as a theatre technician. I am still developing my skills and knowledge of the theatre technologies and procedures used but I am continuously eager to learn new things and acquire new abilities within the role. Before I started working at the Belgrade Theatre, I only had a wide-ranging knowledge of audio and sound, but after two months of undertaking this internship, it has given me the confidence to turn my hand to new things and learn new practises as I go along. I can see the positive changes that it is having on my career and how it is making me aware of the possibilities and opportunities that are there for the taking. The ‘Sound and LX’ internship has made me become more intuitive and versatile, making me ready for the next step in my career, whether that be in the arts industry or music industry.