Anyone looking for a career in backstage and technical theatre should first consider what area most interests them. Sound Technicians - often referred to as Sound Engineers - produce, amplify, mix, record, sync and reproduce sound, effects and music for theatre rehearsals, theatre productions and special events. They’re also responsible for looking over the equipment, checking connections, maintaining sound quality and coordinating staff.
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What are the main responsibilities of a Sound Technician?
- Prepare soundboards and equipment for shows as well as maintain the quality of sound throughout a performance
- Set up microphones on performers and in various places in the theatre
- Check sound levels and make sure the equipment is functioning correctly
- Run sound checks
- Repairing and reporting sound equipment
- Maintain the work areas for other sound professionals to ensure the safety and productivity for the team
- Attend meetings with key professionals such as the Director or Stage Manager before rehearsals to help organise sound cues for the performance
Find out what a Stage Manager does here.
What qualifications do I need to be a Sound Technician?
Formal qualifications are not essential as on-the-job training is provided, but many Sound Technicians complete qualifications in the field to prepare them for this career and also to increase their chances of being employed.
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What skills do I need to be a Sound Technician?
- Strong balanced hearing ability
- A technical knowledge of electricity and electronics
- Knowledge of the capabilities of different types of sound equipment
- Attention to detail and understand health and safety requirements
- Good communication
- Work well in a team and on your own
- Well organised and good under pressure
- Ability to react quickly and creatively to any problems that arise
- Patience, concentration and focus
What does a career as a Sound Technician look like?
Sound Technicians can begin by completing work experience at a local theatre production. You can gain valuable skills and experience by doing this, however there are a number of organisations who offer apprenticeships in this and this is a good way to start and you can work your way up.
Find apprenticeship opportunities in backstage roles here.
How much does a Sound Technician earn?
A starting salary for a Sound Technician is between £19k and 21.5k per year. With experience this can increase to between £23.5k and £28.5k. A senior Sound Technician can earn up to £30.5k.
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Photo: Alex Brenner
Published: 27 August 2019