How to be a Lighting Designer and Technician with Rajiv Pattani

Theatre Lighting Designer and Technician Rajiv Pattani has worked on shows at venues including the Pleasance Theatre, Kings Head Theatre and the Bush Theatre where he is currently the Senior Technician. He offers advice on how to kick-start a career in this profession, and how to overcome obstacles that could stop you pursuing a career in theatre.

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Find more lighting opportunities here and opportunities in technical theatre here


Hi, my name is Rajiv Pattani. I'm 29 years old and I was born in Britain but with a Gujarati background. My story is, I've always been involved in theatre from a young age but my parents background was always academic so they pushed me in that route. But it wasn't until recently they realised I am good at what I do, which is a theatre Lighting Designer. Well starting from primary school I started being involved in school productions and that led to the Young Vic theatre putting on mask making workshops and various other helpful tools. I then went off to my secondary school and was very more academic because of my parents' route, but I managed to sneak in GCSE drama.

Once I left secondary school I went to Hamleys, the toy store, and I was working there for three and a half years. But it just wasn't the same as wanting to be in a theatre, which I got a great break at the Young Vic theatre with their backstage workshop placement working as a Lighting Technician. After leaving LAMDA (London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art) I went off to work at the Pleasance Theatre in London. I then went freelance and working with various designers and directors. One show in particular was Might Never Happen at the King's Head Theatre. Then I started as a casual Technician at the Bush Theatre to now where I'm their Senior Technician at the Bush Theatre. What I like the most about what I do involves working with all of the creatives and the Designers, Directors, production staff, production teams and how we achieve the end goal vision.

What obstacles I faced when I was younger was parental pressure wanting me to become a academic student rather than my own creative visual, so I had to fight them on many occasions, get them involved, bring them down, see the shows that I'm working on, that's where I started to actually change their opinion. Three things you can do to help you become a Lighting Designer is to seek out with this website your local theatre on backstage apprenticeships and courses. Apply for drama schools in the technical theatre field and if you've seen any productions that you liked the lighting design of it email the Lighting Designer.

Search technical theatre vacancies on The Stage Jobs here

Published: 07 March 2019

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