As part of an ongoing series, we are catching up with various members of the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts team so you can get a feel for what goes on behind the scenes in our venue and how we make the magic happen.
Meet Beth O’Leary, our Senior Technician.
What is your job title and what does it entail exactly?
I am Senior Technician here and I work with Greg, who is the Production Manager. It’s a bit cheesy, but I guess I facilitate other people’s dreams. I translate shows through light and design and I am also a point of contact for the technicians, so it becomes easier to leave the team do the event in the auditorium and I do all the running. It is a nice system!
What is your favourite part of working as a Senior Technician?
I love working here with the artists in residence and I get to work with things that are not already made. You get to participate and feed into the creative process.
What’s challenging about bringing a performance to life by the use of lighting and sound?
Just by putting a spotlight on a dark stage, it creates an atmosphere, and it sparks people’s imagination. Lighting can highlight nuances in a play or in an event. By placing light on the human body, it changes depending where they are lit; from underneath they look scary, dead from the top they look very shadowy, from the side you pick up on people’s muscles. It changes what people feel about a piece depending on the different colours of light used such as warm, cold or LED lights.
Here, learning about our sound has been a massive learning curve for me, as it is done through DANTE. Which is an acronym that stands for: Digital Audio Network Through Ether. It gives us a fail/safe system, completely different from analogue. So, it has changed how I work with sound which has been very exciting.
What’s special about our theatre?
ACCA is very new technology-wise, which is great. Audio-visually we’ve made it so you can do anything anywhere in the building. This is handy but every time you do something there are also a lot of things in the background that need to be plugged in!
In terms of what makes our venue special, our theatre has an exceptionally large stage for the size of shows that we host which makes it a brilliant place to see work or be part of a piece being created or performed here.
What’s the last thing you do before a performance runs and the curtain goes up?
Several things. I usually have an emergency wee because there is nothing worse than starting a show and needing the toilet! I then make sure I have my radio on and my bum bag on - as long as I have my technical bum bag I can do practically anything. And the last thing I usually do is a panic check that my mobile phone is on silent and then I’m set.