Lighting Technician

Job Description:

Lighting technicians set up and operate lighting for concerts, conferences and theatre, or in film and TV productions.

Job Category:
Tourism, Hospitality & Entertainment

What you will do:

You’ll usually specialise in film and TV, or theatre, concerts and live events.

Your work would range from basic spotlighting to operating strobes, lasers and pyrotechnics.

Depending on your role, your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • interpreting a lighting designer’s plan
  • carrying out risk assessments for health and safety purposes
  • planning where to run cables and place lights at film locations
  • helping to rig and check the equipment
  • taking cues from the stage manager in theatre, the floor manager in TV, or director in documentaries
  • programming and operating manual and computer-controlled lighting systems taking down the equipment after shows or filming

You may be the only lighting technician on a theatre production, or you could be part of a large crew on a concert tour or feature film.


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of building and construction
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • maths knowledge
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as;

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to use your initiative (drive)
  • leadership skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Lighting Technician, you typically don’t need specific subjects, but having a strong educational background and relevant skills can be advantageous. Lighting Technicians are responsible for setting up and operating lighting equipment in various entertainment and performance settings, such as theatres, concert venues, and film or TV productions. Here are some subjects that can be helpful:

  1. Physics: A basic understanding of physics concepts can be valuable for understanding the principles of lighting, electricity, and optics, which are important in lighting design and operation.
  2. Mathematics: Basic math skills are essential for calculating lighting angles, distances, and power requirements, as well as working with lighting control systems.
  3. Design and Technology: Courses in design and technology can provide you with practical skills related to building, wiring, and operating lighting equipment.
  4. Art and Design: Courses in art and design can help develop your creativity and an understanding of how lighting can affect the visual aspect of performances or events.
  5. Electronics: Understanding electronic circuits and components is important, as lighting equipment often involves electrical systems.
  6. English: Good communication skills are crucial for working effectively in a team, as Lighting Technicians often collaborate with directors, producers, and other crew members.

Post School

You could qualify as an electrician and get practical experience in production lighting. You could also do a college course to learn skills like stage electrics and lighting design.

You’ll need relevant practical experience, like a traineeship with a specialist lighting company, or work experience in:

  • lighting equipment hire theatres or concert venues
  • amateur theatre
  • student or community film projects

You could get into this job through an advanced apprenticeship. Making a showreel or portfolio of your work can help.

You’ll need colour-normal vision.

Working Hours and Environment:

Hours can be long and irregular. In film and TV, you’ll work any time of the day or night, depending on filming schedules. Live performances usually take place in the evening, but may also involve you setting up equipment during the day.

Your working environment will vary. Location work and outdoor concerts can involve working in all weather conditions. Theatres and studios can be very hot. You may have to work at height.

You may also be required to wear protective clothing like safety boots, and use equipment like safety harnesses.

The work could involve time spent away from home and some travel abroad.

Career Path & Progression:

You could work on more complex events, or specialise in areas like electrical safety, inspection and testing, pyrotechnics or rigging.