The 2023/24 Lighting Programme is in full swing, and we are delighted to announce the successful candidates who have earned a coveted spot in our programme are:

James Calliss (Guildhall School of Music and Drama)

Jamie Burke (The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland)

Sophie Schmidt (Guildford School of Acting)

Tom Barge (Bristol Old Vic Theatre School)

Nancy Strahan (Bristol Old Vic Theatre School)

Throughout the programme, these students will delve deep into our industry. They will partake in a variety of experiences, including workshops facilitated by our team and suppliers, hands-on work experience placements, valuable networking opportunities, equipment demonstrations, and much more.

The Lighting Programme started in 2018 and aims to foster young and upcoming talent within the industry with the students taking part being provided with a wealth of knowledge and support from the entire team at SLX. Guiding our Programme is Katy Lowe, our Dry Hire Manager, and Ruari Cormack, our Business Development Manager. With an extensive network and years of hands-on experience across diverse roles and disciplines, Katy and Ruari bring an unparalleled wealth of expertise.

We asked all the students to let us know what they have been working on prior to joining the programme and what inspired them to apply as well as what they are hoping to gain from this opportunity.

Introducing James Calliss

James Calliss - Lighting Programme Class of "3/24

“I have just completed six weeks of work placement, where I focused on lighting programming and pre-vis. At University I’m currently programming a variety of small projects on Grand Ma3, varying from workshopping a new musical to a timecode music project combining lighting, video and automation. It’s great to be working on a wide range of projects at the same time as it’s great exposure to different forms of live events and theatre.

I wanted to apply to the programme as I hoped to gain insight into the projects that SLX work on and the variety of experience the team brings. Additionally, I had a project coming up that I was very excited to work on and the additional kit that I would gain from SLX would bring an extra boost to the final outcome.

I hope to gain experience in live events and theatre industry over the course of the year, being exposed to new environments and new people while developing my understanding of how a large company runs.”

Introducing Jamie Burke

Jamie Burke - Lighting Programme Class of 23/24

“Having during summer working as LX at Underbelly’s McEwan Hall for the Edinburgh Fringe I now find myself working on the first musical of the year at the RCS Into the Woods as the LX programmer.

I was initially interested in applying for the SLX Lighting Programme after students in the years above me, who had also been lucky enough to go through the programme, showed me the connections and breadth of knowledge that the SLX team possesses. They showed me how useful it had been for them in the last year to have valuable industry contacts to work with.

I’m hoping over the course of the Lighting Programme I will get a greater understanding of how large scale Hire and Live Event businesses work. I am also looking forward to getting to network and start building my contact base for when I leave education at the end of the year.”

Introducing Sophie Schmidt

Sophie Schmidt - Lighting Programme Class of 23/24

Photo Credit, Steve Gregson

“Lately, I have been working on productions at GSA, programming Soho Cinders with Lighting Designer Ben Payne, and working as a followspot casual at the Royal Opera House. I will also be programming and assistant lighting designing three more shows at GSA.

I applied for the SLX Lighting Programme 23/24 because it is a great opportunity to meet people from the industry and is a well-known and respected programme. People who were on the programme recently really recommended it. I also wanted to see what our industry is doing to become more sustainable, and I am excited to try different equipment.”

Introducing Tom Barge

Lighting Programme - Class 23/24 - Tom Barge

“I have been busy over the past couple of months. I really enjoyed working at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre on a few productions, including LX Op on Choir Boy, and also design and operation for James Acaster, both were great experiences. Over at the Redgrave Theatre, I have been part of the LX team on Oklahoma. Programming on the GIO & ION and getting to be part of the design team has been really exciting. Finally, I have also been experiencing film, as 1st AD on short film “Scattered” at Old Vic Theatre School.

I felt The Lighting Programme was a great opportunity to broaden my knowledge of theatre lighting. The MA session, which was held at SLX was fantastic and has already helped me to grow my knowledge.

Joining the Programme I hope will allow me to get my name out into the industry and meet as many industry professionals as possible. I hope to learn more about how freelancers work and interact with each other and with the different companies they work with.”

Introducing Nancy Strahan

Nancy Strahan - Lighting Programme 23/24 Cohort

“Currently, I am working on my lighting design for Into The Woods, which is being performed by Bristol Old Vic Theatre School this December at The Redgrave Theatre. Being part of The Lighting Programme at SLX has given me access to additional equipment and I am really grateful to be using Rush Pars, Nandobeams and Diablos as part of my design.

In November I worked with the SLX Live Events team to help deliver a corporate event in Bristol. We worked through the night on site to deliver a multi-discipline event, which was a great insight into how the Live Events team works.

I also worked on a Bristol based circus festival called Circus City this October, which was a lot of fun. The slight chaos of festival work is something I’ve always really enjoyed, and this festival allowed me to see and work on several fantastic pieces of work with some really talented artists. I’m also a big fan of a slightly weird or challenging venue, so working at Invisible Circus’s home, Unit 15, whilst minorly terrifying, was also a lot of fun. As well as this, I am a casual technician at the Tobacco Factory.

Two tutors on my course mentioned the programme to us. After some research into it, I thought it seemed like a great opportunity and something that would allow me to learn a lot and meet some really interesting people.

So far, I have really enjoyed meeting and learning from people who occupy various different niches within the industry. It’s really fascinating to find little areas of work that I’d never really thought about, and I hope to continue delving into this and learning more. The workshop we had with Lamp and Pencil, who make set practical’s and electrics, and work a lot with wireless DMX, was particularly interesting. As someone with a bit of a hand in the props world as well as the lighting world, I’m really interested in practical’s and would love to look further into this.

The opportunity to have a bit of a play with different products has also been really helpful. In particular, the introduction to Grand MA3 was very useful, as I’ve always been very much Eos-based, and I hope to follow this up with some further training and expand my knowledge of various different lighting control systems.

It’s also been lovely to meet and spend time with the other students who are a part of this year’s Lighting Programme. It’s quite comforting to talk to people at a similar stage heading into the theatre industry and sharing our different experiences and perspectives on everything has been great.”