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What does a Scenic Automator do?

A Scenic Automator is someone who creates and controls a complex sequence of scene changes that happen on stage in front of the audience. A good example of this would be a production of The Lion King. The stage is raised to represent Pride Rock at the beginning of the production and then this part of the stage is lowered to then make the stage a flat surface. This is all done electronically and in time with the music.

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What are the main responsibilities of a Scenic Automator?

  • Powering up a range of equipment on the automation system 
  • Check individual show components
  • Overseeing multiple moving elements that fly, revolve or move on trucks
  • Operate digital systems that are used in Automation
  • Perform safety checks on any moving pieces of scenery

What qualifications do I need to be a Scenic Automator?

Automation can be a highly specific field. It is possible to train within theatre however the below qualification area would definitely help:

  • IT
  • Digital design
  • Engineering
  • Set Design
  • Electronics 

See our training opportunities in the above areas here.

What skills do I need to be a Scenic Automator?

  • Understanding hydraulic lifts, elevators, revolves and flown elements
  • Concentration
  • Communication
  • Some level of creative understanding 
  • Comfortable with digital software 

What does a career in scenic automation look like?

A Scenic Automator is a very specific job within theatre. You can often transition from a Stage Crew or Stagehand position into automation. Once you are trained up into this position, you have a very distinct skill set and can then transfer from show to show, depending on what shows actually use automation.  Smaller production tend to have smaller or simpler sets so you will mostly be working on larger productions. 

Find out what Backstage Crew members do here. 

How much does a Scenic Automator earn?

A Scenic Automator can earn between £25k - £45k.

You can also search vacancies using The Stage Jobs here.

 

References:

http://www.theatrecrafts.com/pages/home/topics/automation-scenic/

https://www.thestage.co.uk/advice/2017/theatre-automation-operator/

https://www.tomorrowsengineers.org.uk/real-jobs/theatre-automation-engineer-ben-phillips/

Photo: Alex Brenner

Published: 5 December 2019