Theatre lighting technician
Construction, Mechanical & Electrical Trades

Theatre lighting technicians set up, operate and maintain theatre lighting systems and electrical effects.

Work Activities

  • A theatre lighting technician sets up and operates the lighting systems and electrical effects for theatre productions.
  • They work closely with lighting designers, sound technicians, the stage manager and the director.
  • The lighting designer decides where the lights are to be placed and the technician fits and focuses the lights.
  • During productions, the technician checks that the lights are working properly and operates the manual and computer-controlled lighting systems.
  • The technician maintains the lighting equipment in good safe working condition. This includes carrying out electrical maintenance as required.
  • The technician helps the lighting designer create special lighting effects. They can operate strobes, lasers and pyrotechnics.
  • Theatre lighting technicians working for touring companies may also be involved in the unloading, setting up and testing of the lighting equipment. They may have to spend weeks away from home.
  • They work unsocial hours.

Personal Qualities and Skills

Key skills for theatre lighting technicians

  • Manual dexterity and a technical knowledge of electricity and electronics
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Creativity and the ability to react quickly to any problems that may arise
  • Patience, stamina, focus and physical agility
  • To work well on your own and in a team
  • Follow health and safety requirements

Pay And Opportunities

Typical employers of theatre lighting technicians

  • Theatre companies in London and around the country.
  • Touring theatre companies
  • Event and exhibition promoters


Qualifications and training required

A relevant qualification in technical theatre is usually required, as well as experience in amateur theatre.

A range of qualifications are available from BTEC certificates up to degree level.

  • Apprenticeships are available in Technical Theatre.
  • Drama schools provide vocational training for technical theatre practitioners. The Federation of Drama Schools website has a list of schools and the different courses.
  • The Backstage Centre runs a Level 4 Professional Diploma in Technical and Production.
  • The Association of British Theatre Technicians runs specialist courses.
  • For Scottish applicants to HND Technical Theatre courses, around 2 Highers are required. Subjects such as English and Drama are helpful. Degree courses ask for a relevant HND or around 3 - 4 Highers.

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