Techies: why do we do it?

13 April 2017

Keira Dulake on getting ahead in the tech industry, and why it's great being a part of the NSDF Technical Team 


For a lot of people, theatre is about being under the spotlight where all eyes are focused on you and the audience intently watching as you belt out that solo you’ve been rehearsing for the past six weeks.

For some of us, probably the minority, theatre is about being behind the spotlight, up a ladder while you focus the spotlight and have spent the past six hours agonising over the position of each individual lantern. Theatre is universal and no matter where your interests lie, be it stage management, electrics or performing a sonnet, everyone creating theatre has one common interest: to be a part of something unique. And that is something NSDF excels at creating.

I am currently studying theatre production at the Guildford School of Acting and honestly I have no idea when I decided that technical theatre was where I wanted a career. I’d started on stage as a lot of techies do (and I couldn’t have been that bad because I achieved my grade 8 singing!) but it just wasn’t something I could see myself doing for the rest of my career.

When you ask anyone how to get into the technical theatre industry, they will undoubtedly give you the same advice: see everything you can, and get work experience on anything you can. I’m lucky in that I live in close proximity to London so I get to the theatre regularly, but in terms of work experience I had very close to none prior to uni. My secondary school wasn’t big on theatre and there was pretty much no opportunity for me get involved with drama as I didn’t study the subject after year 9.

So I took it upon myself to do work experience where I could and the Tech Team at NSDF is quite possibly the best solution to that. I so wish I had found NSDF sooner as it has really given me the confidence to trust my knowledge and reinforce my learning.

Surprisingly, I’d never heard of NSDF before last year when a leader of a theatre producing group suggested it to me having been on the team some years back herself. She told me it was imperative I go because it would be one of the most beneficial, fun (and tiring!) experience of my life while training in stage management and technical theatre.

And yes, while the tiring bit is totally correct – believe me – I feel absolutely privileged to be a part of the NSDF17 Technical Team. For anyone trying to pursue a career in theatre, we all know it's obvious we don’t do it for the money, and if you’re in this industry because you want to be rich, it’s just never going to happen. But the reason we put in the long hours of heavy labour, early mornings and late nights is because we love what we do. And personally, I don’t think that’s a half-bad career choice.   


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Photo credit: Giulia Delprato