Some people are surprised when Tommy says he works for the Royal Opera House. But those opulent stage productions depend on the practical skills of technicians like him.
Tommy gained an interest in engineering while helping out in his grandfather’s workshop. After studying at college he did an apprenticeship at the Royal Opera House’s production park in Purfleet. “It was like a factory and we used the same techniques over and over, but I learnt a lot of skills”.
To gain broader experience he applied to work in the Opera House’s Department of Stage Engineering where he is on hand in case of any technical difficulties. “Productions like Cavalleria Rusticana/ Pagliacci require a lot of hydraulics to move the stage and the performers around”.
He enjoys working for such a high-profile employer. He was once even introduced to the opera’s most famous patron, Prince Charles. “It was strange seeing a picture of us in the paper talking together”.
Tommy - Career Pathway
Left school having studied a BTEC in Engineering
Went to South East Essex Technical College and earned a Level 3 in Advanced Engineering
Did a three year apprenticeship in Metalwork at the Royal Opera House’s production park in Purfleet while also studying NVQ in Practical Engineering at Prospects College in Basildon
Began working in the Royal Opera House’s Department of Stage Engineering
Stats - Stage Technician
Full Time Employed: 75,770
Part Time Employed: 3,893
Self Employed: 5,926
Total Employed: 85,589
Stage Technicians install rigging, lighting, sound equipment, and scenery, and erects stages for theatrical, musical, and other entertainment events in arenas, stadiums, theaters, studios, and other amusement places. They read stage layout specifications and blueprints and determines type and location of sets, props, scenery, lighting, and sound equipment required for specific event.
Engineering technicians perform a variety of technical support functions to assist engineers with the design, development, operation, installation and maintenance of engineering systems and constructions.