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Graduating University - Where do I go from here?

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Hello All,


I'm coming towards the end of my undergraduate course, BA(Hons) Media Arts from Plymouth University, and am weighing up the possibilities of what routes I can take after graduation.


I'm looking to get into professional theatrical work - touring or venue, with a bias towards AV and lighting. My ideal role would include opportunities for design, but at this stage I'm not going to be too fussy.


Alongside my degree course I have been working with the Plymouth University Students' Union and Theatre Royal Plymouth as a casual electrics technician, as well as on amateur productions with local companies, so I have experience of working in professional venues, as well as on a variety of shows.


From looking at job descriptions, I'm seeing requirements for skills such as "ability to repair and maintain intelligent lights", "knowledge of all current rigging and flying techniques with particular reference to

electrical equipment" and "a willingness and ability to safely work at height".


Although I have basic understanding and ability in these areas, I feel it would be useful to undertake specific training / qualifications in moving light maintenance/rigging/flying/h&s etc


Are there any specific courses / routes you would suggest in order to increase my skills and improve employability, perhaps with recognised qualifications? I have been looking at courses such as those offered by the ABTT / Whitelight etc, but I don't wish to spend time and money on training that may not prove useful 'in the real world'


I'm also seeing many requirements for "experience of professional theatrical touring" or similar - I'm wondering whether there are any suggestions for how to gain this experience? It seems like somewhat of a catch22.


Advice would be greatly appreciated,


Regards, David

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Im a Touring Chief Electrician and I have found it's just a case of meeting people (I was a local in a big Musical Touring House) and getting to know them and thats how I found my way onto the touring circuit. Touring can be a hard thing to get into, mainly because a lot of touring crews will move from show to show, you may have seen at TRP a lot of familiar faces from show to show. If you want a bias toward LX my advice would be; to look for No.3 LX positions or Tech Swing. These positions would give you the chance to learn the ropes without having a lot of responsibility and Tech Swing role could offer you a chance to explore LX, Sound and Stage Management on tour. I would also like to say that be sure touring is something you want to do. It can be a hard life on the road and can get pretty lonely at times.


As for the training. I have no formal ML training, I learnt on the job, theirs no harm going to places like White Light and taking a basic Moving Lighting Maintenance course but I have found on some shows, the production will get you the training.

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Agree with Jonathan re: meeting people. As great as skills and additional training is, ultimately getting that first job is often who you have met and who trusts you prior to being 'released' onto the market after graduation. While you could apply for advertised roles and hope to stand out among the many others going up for any one job (and remember that a lot of the market is not in advertised roles but picking up contract work and re-employment), best bet is to review who you currently know in this market and how you might expand that in the next few months. Sounds like you would be involved in this kind of show at the Royal and meet people on the circuit that way.


I find that our undergrads benefit from a good work placement during their studies (and/or casual work they do in the business) and many go straight into some form of work based on the contacts they made during those opportunities either informally in their second year or on a curricular basis in their final year.


Other than that, J has hit the nail on the head regarding the regulars on the theatre tour circuit and the roles of LX 3 and Tech Swing.

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