What does a Lighting Technician do?

A theatre Lighting Technician (LT) prepares and operates the lighting system for a production. They make the lighting effects for live theatre productions based on the designs created by the Lighting Designer (LD). The type of work can vary depending on the production.

What are the main responsibilities of a theatre Lighting Technician?

  • Communicating with the Lighting Designer and making sure you understand their lighting plan and you are able to produce what is asked for
  • Rigging and operating necessary lighting equipment
  • Taking direction and cues from the Deputy Stage Manager
  • Use manual and computer-controlled lighting systems during the show
  • Keeping lighting equipment in a good and safe working condition
  • Electrical maintenance duties when needed
  • Keeping updated with new technology within the theatre industry

Search Technician opportunities to help you get into theatre here 

What qualifications do I need to work in lighting?

You do not need a degree for this role and most training takes place on the job. Additional training throughout your career is essential to keep your knowledge up-to-date. You can gain qualifications in any subject related to lighting design and technology such as:

  • Electrical/Electronic Engineering
  • Lighting Design and Technology
  • Theatre Lighting Design
  • Technical Theatre
  • Performing Arts
  • Art & Design

Find training opportunities to be a lighting technician from across the theatre industry here

What skills do I need?

  • Good communicator
  • Work well under pressure to tight deadlines
  • Creative
  • Technical knowledge and ability
  • Programming skills 
  • Safety awareness 

What does a career in lighting look like?

You can start as a Stagehand, Lighting Crew or casual Technician. You can get these roles through apprenticeships, work experience or even technical based youth theatres. You can also start as an Assistant at a lighting hire company as they are often involved in productions and there is potential to get your foot in the door this way. Some people go on to work as Lighting Designers. Have a look at our vlog with Lighting Designer and Technician Rajiv Pattani.

How much can a theatre Lighting Technician earn?

Lighting Technicians at the start of their career can expect to earn around £150 per day minimum rising to £300 with more experience. On average Lighting Technicians earn £20k - £40k per year. 

The above is a guide. Pay, salary or fee can vary depending on the theatre or company, as well as your personal experience. National institutions or commercial productions can pay in excess of the above, with profit-share or community theatre paying less. 

You can find theatre jobs via The Stage Jobs here 


Published: 9th June 2024

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