Chris Harris, head of lighting

 10 October 2012

Chris Harris developed a passion for technical theatre.

"My job involves planning the execution of the lighting designer’s ideas."

Hometown?

I'm originally from Pinner in Middlesex, but now live in Wembley

What job do you do?

I'm chief electrician at the Lyric Hammersmith theatre.

What previous jobs in theatre have you done?

I was a lighting board operator at the Ambassadors Theatre in London's West End. 

Before that, I was deputy chief electrician at both the Hampstead Theatre and the Lyric Hammersmith.

What qualifications do you have?

I have a two-year diploma in stage management and technical theatre from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).

I also have nine GCSEs and two A Levels. I've also completed some pyrotechnics training. 

What do you do at work?

I'm responsible for the lighting of all the shows that take place in the theatre. This involves planning the execution of the lighting designer’s ideas.

I'm also responsible for the building’s electrical safety and maintenance. There don’t tend to be typical days, just busy ones.

"My job involves planning the execution of the lighting designer’s ideas."

Tasks can include rigging and maintaining lights and cables, organising hires, prepping the next show, and holding meetings with other staff to keep the building running smoothly. The hours are long and varied.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Getting to press night on a tricky show which you’ve worked hard on. It's great when things go well – afterwards I have a well-deserved beer!

And the worst thing about the job?

Having to concentrate more on the building maintenance and operations side of my job, as opposed to the lighting and technical side of shows.

How do I get into theatre?

There are many different ways to get into this industry, but my advice is:

  1. Do your research
    Make sure you properly research what course or route in is best for you, and then put your all into it.
     
  2. Always ask questions
    If you're ever in doubt about anything, make sure you ask.
     
  3. Keep a practical outlook
    You can’t fail with common sense and hard work, and especially not with a sense of humour! 

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