By Liam Jarvis
Since getting involved in my first theatre show as a lighting operator (yes, turning lights on and off) with NUTS’ (NSW University Theatrical Society), Measure for Measure I have discovered a serious passion for theatre that I previously had no idea existed. And in these 18 months since, I haven’t looked back.
Operating tech equipment for NUTS, at the baby black box theatre that is otherwise known as Studio One, or better yet- my second place of residence (behind the Whitehouse)- is great! I have learned everything from theatre etiquette to the rules of physics and electricity in the 60-seat venue. More so, I have learned what it means to do hard labour for 15 hours without so much as a lunch break.
In fact, I think I learned everything that a student theatre society could teach in one day and six nights – and believe me, I was hooked.
I became more and more involved, eventually doing lighting design for the 2016 major musical, A Little Night Music at the NIDA Playhouse Theatre. I was thrown in the deep end here- working in a professional venue with a technical supervisor who was able to teach me tricks of the trade and the rules that applied in the bigger world of theatre (which is why I was also kicked out of the theatre for eating- more than once). Despite my seemingly troublesome snacking, I took yet another leap of faith and decided to try my hand at a committee position and was elected Arc Delegate of NUTS for 2017.
Holding this position and being able to influence the society is amazing! Just seeing how dedicated and hard working the 300 crazy Nutters are has truly inspired me.
Even more inspiring, while working on a show with this society I was asked to join ProSoc- a society whose aim is to provide expertise and equipment for other not-for-profit organisations such as community theatres, charities and even social justice campaigns. I’ve loved the opportunities it has brought with it, from setting up for the Women’s March and even converting a warehouse for an underground opera! And coming up, I will be setting up for the Marriage Equality Rally at Town Hall.
If you thought it couldn’t get any better- you’re wrong!
Most recently, I decided to try my hand a step above student theatre and have been involved in the Sydney Fringe Festival. I was approached to be the tech guy for one show, and produce another. And as a serial over-committer, of course, I said yes to BOTH!
Working with people outside my immediate circle, working with a major and renowned festival, getting invited to launch parties and after parties and meeting like minded people are just a few of the great opportunities I have encountered working with Fringe Festival. I’ve seen others flailing around hoping they make it, and those who are already seasoned industry professionals.
Also, did I mention you get paid?
I can’t even begin to describe the feeling of knowing that people are willing to pay you for what you’ve been doing for free for up to 50 hours a week!
Obviously, it isn’t all smooth sailing. Like with anything, there are speed bumps.
Honestly, sometimes Fringe seems to be about as unorganised as my writing style, stuff is kind of everywhere. But we get there in the end and that’s what matters.