I have always been mesmerised by how effects are created on stage

David Howard is studying BSc (Hons) Lighting Design and Technology.


What attracted you to this business?
My friends ask me this a lot and I still cannot give a definite answer. I think the creative and technical aspects as well as the inherent variety of a career like this has always been appealing to me. I can pin-point it to primary school when I was taken to Birmingham Old Rep to see a play and was mesmerised by how effects were created on stage. 

What do you think of the course you’re studying?
I really, really enjoy it. The course has provided me with fantastic opportunities I wouldn’t have otherwise had access to. The wide range of equipment from different manufacturers and sectors of the industry as well as links the university has with industry has meant I’ve been able to make connections with professionals, which I’m quickly learning makes a huge difference. The course has changed the way I think about many aspects of the lighting industry and how to approach lighting in different situations. Studying a BSc, I have exposure to electronics and optics in a way which is not possible at a drama school. I genuinely enjoy the teaching both in and out of the classroom and think I definitely made the correct choice to further study lighting design. 

What work experience have you had so far? 
I approached the course from a background in local theatre and small events with an interest in concert and performance lighting design. The course has provided me with opportunities to work on real world events and temporary installations which have been valuable. More recently I’ve found myself working on installation projects as well as private events. Later this month I am shadowing designer Tim Routledge on an event at Wembley Arena, which I am very excited about as this will be my first real glimpse into a large-scale project. 

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned so far?
Don’t overcomplicate things - sometimes simplicity is the key to success. 

Who would you most like to emulate?
Designers and programmers like Oli Metcalfe and Tim Routledge have pursued careers I would truly love to follow in the footsteps of. 

What would be your dream project to work on?
The dream would be to light Florence and the Machine at Glastonbury. To light a band I love at such an iconic festival would be incredible. 

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps? 
Take every opportunity that is available to you and actively seek them out. Make an effort to get on well with people and build good relationships. I’m learning quickly that the lighting world is small and people remember you, so be nice.

What do you want your job title to be in 10 years’ time?
Ruler of the free world (or lighting designer).