Mr Ashley Holdom (Ash) He/Him
Technical Instructor (Lighting)
Drama School & year:
Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance – Graduation Year of 2018
How did you first get into live events?
I started with mixing live sound and studio recordings for productions at my community college in Leicester whilst taking my A-Levels in Music & Music Technology. Whilst on this course, we took a trip to London to see ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘Phantom of the Opera’, during which I found that my true passion was in lighting and from there, I changed my career path into lighting for theatre and events.
What did you do with the SLX bursary at your college/university?
When I received the SLX student bursary, I was in the final term of my final year of studies. In which I was currently the Technical Manager for the RBC Graduate Exhibition and New Writing Season 2018 which took place in the Ugly Duck, Tanner Street. This production was one of my most thrilling events to date and this was partially due to the influx of equipment I was able to hire from SLX for free. I used the hires to develop and expand the lighting design capabilities for the graduate exhibition and was able to greatly improve the overall quality of the exhibition for all of the graduating technical students of the college along with allowing me the opportunity to experiment with some new equipment that I had not used before.
Did you do anything else with SLX?
SLX kindly invited myself and the rest of the bursary recipients for two days at the Bristol warehouse and offices in which we had the opportunity to see how the company works from within. We also had some training sessions on the Zero88 FLX range of lighting consoles which, as a lighting student, I found to be invaluable and thoroughly enjoyed my time with the SLX team.
Since the Bursary was accepted, I have been in contact with Ruari Cormack and Katy Lowe in regards to both professional and personal aspects of my development. The SLX team have a great interest in knowing how my career is going and we often meet/talk about how things are going and future plans.
How beneficial was the SLX bursary to furthering your future career?
Receiving the SLX bursary has been immensely valuable to me and the development of my career. As I received the bursary just before I graduated, I was able to use the financial aspects in full for an industry facing event for graduates, I was able to use the industry expertise from the SLX team to work out a career path for myself and then was able to use some of the contacts they provided to help me start out on my journey.
As somebody who wants to further myself constantly with the career ambition of becoming a successful technical manager, I am still to this day able to contact the SLX team as and when needed and they are always more than happy to help out if they can.
What would be your advice for people applying to the lighting project now?
I think my piece of advice would be to be yourself. The SLX team are very much a family and it was very clear during my application process, interview and during my visits etc that they are very much looking to expand that family and build relationships with students who are close to graduating.
Being a part of the SLX family has been an honour and if you can get across to them your ambition and passion for the industry, along with your dedication, I am sure they will see that in you and hopefully be able to help you in your future.
What is your next job?
I am currently in full time employment at Rose Bruford College as a Technical Instructor (Lighting) however, as I previously mentioned, my career ambition is to become a successful technical manager one day so who knows where this ambitious path will take me.
Have you picked up any new hobbies over the past year?
Over the past year I have been attempting to learn Italian and the piano. These are both interests of mine so while I had some time to work on myself, these are the hobbies I chose to do this with.
What is the most important piece of equipment in your toolbox?
My most frequently used tool is my ‘Dirty Rigger quad spanner’ however I would say my most important piece of equipment would be my ‘City Theatrical DMXcat’ which is invaluable when it comes to fault finding, fixture testing, DMX issues and many more.
What would be your dream production to work on?
I think the ultimate dream production would be to work on something as spectacular as the Olympic opening/closing ceremonies however in my previous job as Lighting Deputy for Theatre Royal Stratford East, we hosted a production of ‘The Unreturning’ by Frantic Assembly which honestly took my breath away so to be able to work on a production by FA would also be a dream of mine.
If you hadn’t chosen to go into live events, what would you have done?
Before I switched over to live events, I was really enjoying my A levels in Music & Music Technology in which we did a lot of studio recordings. I found this to be fascinating and would have probably have tried to go down the route of music production. If you asked what I would have done to my 10-year-old self however, I would have definitely had said a police officer.
Last show you saw?
The last show that I saw was ‘Betrayal’ at the Harold Pinter Theatre.
As previously mentioned, I was breath-taken by the production of The Unreturning by Frantic Assembly. The lighting designer for this production was Zoe Spurr whose design was truly stunning.