Tag Archive | Backstage Work


As well as my (extremely time-consuming) activities with the Organisation, I am also a member of the theatre and event technical society on campus.  I don’t do much for them, I don’t really have the time, but when I can I go down and help out. Recently I signed up to help out with the panto on campus, asking if I could run the lighting desk.  I’ll admit that it’s been a long time since I did anything properly like this, but I do mostly know my way around a desk and with a little time I’m certain I could get back to it, and perhaps it would get me back in to doing this sort of thing on even an occasional basis.

I discovered today that I haven’t got the position. I won’t pretend that I’m not disappointed.  This would be the first event in a long time where I’ve been able to make the time to help out, so I was really hoping to get the opportunity.  I was also a little irritated to discover that the job has been given to someone who already has another (admittedly related) role in the show, when the position was offered up as a separate role. I won’t deny, he’s a lot better at that sort of thing than I am, and a lot more experienced in general, but that doesn’t really help stop it sting.  Perhaps I’d be less annoyed if a new member was doing the role (after all, them gaining experience is more valuable to the society), but somehow I doubt it.

I could still do the event in some other role, but I have to weigh the benefits against having to take a night or two off of Cadets, and given that we’re short-staffed as it is, I think I’d struggle to justify it to myself.

This is always the way these things tend to work with me.  I’m just a little sad, as I probably won’t be able to do any more of the theatre events after this.  They all tend to fall on a Tuesday, a Wednesday and/or a Thursday, all evenings when I’m busy.

Sometimes I regret joining the Organisation, or how involved I’ve got in it, for all the stress that it’s caused and all the opportunities I’ve missed because of it.  The fact that I can’t go be part of the University Band, or attend the sort of events I’m interested in with the society, or the other half-dozen things that all fall on a Thursday night.

Of cause, then I remember that because of it I can crew ambulances, and get to cycle around on the cool bikes, and I suppose that does make up for it.  A little.  I just wish I could do everything…


Sleep Fail

Freshers Week - Toga Night

Freshers Week - Toga Night


For the past week, I have been tech-crewing and first aiding at my University’s Freshers’ Week.  The main aim of the week (publicly) is to allow the freshers to get to know each other and get settled in before starting lectures. Unofficially, some freshers, and some of the Freshers Crew that look after them, see this as an opportunity to get as drunk as possible as regularly as possible. 

From my point of view, this is a highly enjoyable week of rigging, first aiding and derigging. This year I also got the chance the run the lighting desk for an evening (and had a complete panic when it starting doing things I didn’t ask it to do…), as well as having a go being Assistant Stage Manager (more stressful than I’d like, especially as the main act turned up about an hour after they were supposed to be on stage.) 

From a first aid point of view, it’s dealing with drunks, drunks and more drunks. Oh, and the odd assault, but they’re usually drunk as well… 

This year we had three people drink themselves into unconsciousness, along with the normal round of alcohol poisonings and other drunken injuries (fractures, possible head injuries, etc.) 

As well as Freshers’ Flu, which seems to afflict anyone involved in Freshers’ Week, whether or not they are a fresher, the week successfully screws my sleeping patterns over for a month.  This year I caught the Flu early, and seem to have got over it quickly. However, it is currently 0040, and I’m still quite comfortably awake. This is extremely annoying, particularly as my lectures start tomorrow. 

On the bright side, it means I can get some posts written, but I have a feeling life (especially the bits of it that occur before 1100) is going to be a bit difficult for a while.

Summer Ball = Much Work + Much Fun

Last weekend was the University’s Summer Ball. This is basically a giant party for all the graduates to celebrate the end of their time at university, and for everyone else (if they can get tickets – it sells out in minutes!) to celebrate the end of the year. It is one of the largest events we cover on campus, in terms of area covered, and only the Fireworks Display in November has a larger number of people attending.

I am a member of the Technical Crew society at the University. Nowhere near as active with them as I am with my First Aid activities, especially over the past year where I have been on placement. I am more interested in the theatre style shows they run, but they clashed with my working hours, which basically ruled me out.

No matter what our interests are, be us lampies (like me, in an ideal world), noise boys (or girls), stage managers, or whatever, we all like to get to the big events. Not only does this make everyone’s life easier (they really are big events…), I find it gives a tremendous sense of achievement to see something I’ve been working on all set up and looking great on the night.

I can’t be as involved as some people. As I tend to be a First Aider at the event as well, I have to be very careful about the number of hours I’ve been working before I go on duty. This tends to mean a lie in on the day of the event, and no rigging that day, which does mean I tend to miss it all coming together at the end. However, getting to see the finished product, free, from a ‘punter’s eye view, means I don’t mind too much.

It was a q-word event this year. Normally we are rushed off of our feet in the post, and are forever ferrying drunks home or to A&E. This time we were mostly getting bored.

The one disadvantage of being both Crew and First Aider is that I get the late nights every night, instead of getting a night off like most people. I am still tired at stupid times in the day, and as I’m typing this at 00:40 in the morning without difficulty, my sleep cycle is probably going to be thoroughly screwed for a while yet. Slightly irritating after getting in to some fairly good habits while I was working…

Still, it was a thoroughly enjoyable weekend, and I was completely distracted from how screwed I am with my degree. Not a bad thing at the time. If only it hadn’t come back with a vengeance once I’d finished.

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