Production Arts case study

Liam Tully - FdA Live Music and Theatre Production 
(now FdA Stage Management and Technical Theatre)
Freelance Lighting Designer

Why did you choose to study at Newcastle College?

I started Newcastle College at 16 years old studying Media Production and decided I wanted to give lighting a go, so I embarked on the Live Music and Theatre Production Foundation Degree. 

Did you have the opportunity to go on a work placement as part of your course/what skills have you gained as a result?

I found myself a work placement touring with the Kaiser Chiefs and lighting the support band. Doing that tour while at Newcastle College changed my career. It opened so many doors and I still get offered opportunities off the back of that four and half years later!

What are the staff at the College like?

My lighting tutor was amazing. He taught me the basics that I use every day in my career. I now class him as a friend not a tutor, something that’s important to me as he was the first person who believed in me and helped me get to where I wanted to be.

What are the facilities like at the College?

The facilities are second to none. Newcastle College use industry standard equipment so you can learn the proper way first time. The Peter Sarah Theatre is as well-equipped as many venues I tour through worldwide.

What was the highlight for you whilst studying for your degree?

I have had a number of highlights. My main degree highlight was during an assessment show at the College. I was doing exactly what I had planned in my head; being giving the creative reign on the show allowed me to take risks to make it exactly how I wanted it. It felt great to see that the staff trusted me. There have been a number of career highlights already. Less than a year after leaving Newcastle College I was flying around the world on a private jet with a band. That was amazing, I never thought I would ever experience that in my life! I have done some huge shows and a highlight every time for me is pulling the house lights down at the start of the show and hearing the audience roar. There’s also something special about pulling the house lights up during a show and hearing the audience sing back to the artist. It’s incredible and I get to witness that a few times a week. This year I got to light the pyramid stage at Glastonbury which is something I used to dream of doing as a kid.

Now that you’re employed, what does your role entail?

I’m a freelance Lighting Designer. I design lighting shows for bands. From set, to video, to lighting; I decide where it’s going and what it will look like. I then program the show and run it live on the road with them. I’m currently working for James Bay and have toured round LA and Sydney!