Twenty-six-year-old Adam Bowers from Edinburgh completed their HND in Technical Theatre during the Covid-19 pandemic and has since gained employment in the sector. We caught up with Adam to find out more about their college experience and what it was like graduating at a challenging time for the performing arts.
What were you doing before coming to college?
I was working part-time as a freelance technician for theatre/events and partly doing hospitality work.
What made you want to come to Edinburgh College?
Whilst I was managing to find some tech work, I realised I was limited in the jobs I could apply for due to not having formal education. I also realised there were several skills I was missing that would benefit me in my career progression.
How was your college experience?
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Edinburgh College. The nature of the course really fostered a sense of teamwork, and it was a genuine pleasure working with my fellow students to put on shows. It has also taught me a number of very valuable skills, some of which I expected to develop on the course and some which took me by surprise. In particular, the experience of attending and leading production meetings, the classes on scheduling staff and managing my tasks, and the written graded units have proved to be invaluable in the world of technical work.
What is it like learning online during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Whilst it was a shame being unable to fully realise all the shows we had planned, the course leaders still did a great job trying to minimise the impact on our learning. There are still many skills that can be worked on remotely, from management and planning, to practicing the use of lighting software and visualisation.
Has learning online provided any opportunities for you which studying face-to-face wouldn’t?
It gave me the opportunity to focus more on my self-directed study, and to give attention to the areas where I most wanted practice. Furthermore, it helped me prepare for remote working in a professional setting. It helped me learn remote communication skills, and to better manage my own workload whilst not having the motivation of others in the same space.
Which platforms have you been using for online learning and how are you finding using them?
We made extensive use of the college Moodle system, which worked very well for submitting work and receiving feedback. We also used Zoom and Microsoft Teams, which, whilst not the same as in-person meetings and lectures, still provided a good experience for learning.
Have you had to overcome any challenges during your studies, and if so, how did you do this?
I am lucky enough to have a great support system, both in my personal life and at college, so my experience was generally very smooth.
What are your plans for the future? What is your end goal?
I plan to progress in a career as a theatre/events technician using the skills I learned from my time at Edinburgh College. Since the course, I have managed to find work in production management – something I would not have had the skills and experience to do prior. I intend to keep exploring these options, whilst working on my own professional development by expanding on my skills and learning new ones.
If you could describe your college experience so far in three words, what would they be?
Inspiring, exciting, cooperative.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your college experience?
The HND Technical Theatre course at Edinburgh College really opened a lot of doors for me. Not only did it help me develop practical skills in areas such as lighting and set construction, it also taught me many things I didn’t know I needed, such as how to run a production meeting or write a schedule. Being able to apply these skills on actual shows really helped me feel more comfortable and confident when taking on professional work. With my HND certificate, I have been successful in finding technical work even throughout the pandemic, at a time where theatres are not a priority. Not only this, but it opened an avenue into stage and production management – a route that I had never previously considered. I can say with certainty that my time spent on this course gave me the foot in the door that my career needed, and I will be calling back on the skills learned for many years to come.
If you’re interested in learning the skills you need to get ready for a career in technical theatre, learn more about our HND Technical Theatre course.