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A new life for RWCMD’s old tech

Giving our old kit a new lease of life, the College has donated some of its technical gear to local theatre company, Tin Shed Theatre Co.

Giving our old kit a new lease of life, the College has donated some of its technical gear to local theatre company, Tin Shed Theatre Co.

Stage management and technical theatre grad Cara Hood was looking for equipment to help to set up a performance venue within The Place, Tin Shed’s arts and community space in Newport, and asked the College in case we had anything we could donate to them.

RWCMD Technical Operations Manager Leigh Kirk-Harris was very happy to pass on equipment that wasn’t being used any more, including a sound system and lighting desk:

‘Cara’s approach came at just the right time as we’d just invested in new technology, so were considering getting rid of the out of date equipment. Community engagement and outreach form a core part of the College’s vision, so Tin Shed’s ambitions for ‘The Place’ align perfectly. Added to that, being able to give older equipment a new lease of life fits really well with our commitments to sustainability and combatting climate change.’
Leigh Kirk-HarrisRWCMD technical operations manager

Cara, who graduated in 2019, discovered her love of theatre when she started going to Tin Shed Theatre Co.’s local drama group when she was about 10 years old. Life has now come full circle as she’s come back as a fully-fledged lighting designer and technical manager, helping them to create their new theatre space.

‘Tin Shed is a local theatre company engaging with the community and young people and making the impossible happen! This donation makes a real different to us. It not only speeds up the process of opening the performance venue within The Place, but having such professional kit gives us the credibility and professionalism to attract more people to use our spaces. And on top of that, it’s a sustainable solution to our problem so it’s kind to the planet.’
Cara Hood

Becoming a ‘theatre maker’

‘When you study stage management at Royal Welsh College you start by doing a bit of everything. You might be in the workshop, then working as an ASM (assistant stage manager), and then, in my case, lighting.

‘What I loved about the course was that you didn’t have to choose your specialism before you got here. You could spend time learning about each area, find where your passion really is, and then focus on that in the second and third year.'
Cara Hood

'I discovered that I just love installing lighting into sets and creating electrical props so I focused on lighting from second year and then worked on as a lighting designer in third year. It was my design portfolio that I made for the Balance Exhibition that helped me get my foot in the door at National Theatre Wales as their Technical Manager for their tour of Peggy’s Song in 2019. I still sometimes refer to production images from my time at RWCMD.

The course gave me a skillset that meant I could go and work as a lighting designer in the theatre world, but also as an electrician/ lighting console operator in film and TV.'

Rocket launch Blaenavon

'When I wasn’t working in theatre during Covid, I had the confidence from my training to go and work on TV programmes like War of the Worlds, Casualty, Doctor Who, and Alex Rider to name a few. The experience through my degree and my professional work gave me the transferable skills required. I have since done further training gaining electrical certifications; feeling now a long way from my electrical safety lectures in my first year.

I feel that many people working in theatre and events would suit the TV world remarkably well, such as ASMs working in the props or scenic departments, and stage managers making fantastic location managers, runners, and assistant directors.'

Find your place

‘My secondary school drama teacher suggested stage management to me, which I’d never thought of as a career option,’ said Cara. ‘When I arrived at the College for my interview, I phoned my mum after and said, I’m going here.’

RWCMD's production of Machinal

‘I immediately felt - this is my place. I’m coming here. In my interview, they were so interested in who I was personally and my set designs from my A-Level art portfolio. Even though I was applying for the SMTT course, and so it wasn’t directly relevant, they could see that I had a passion for theatre.'

'I didn’t feel like I was being compared to others, the interview was more about who you are and what you enjoy, and your potential to grow and develop in the world of theatre and live events.’
Cara Hood

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