Meet the Crew of Rent: Gary Oliver

Rent runs from Thursday until Saturday this week at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking - go to our box office to book seats before they all go!

When it all goes smoothly you're not even aware of the work that goes into the lighting... As the team build the set today the work for the technical team starts in earnest.

"The mantra of ‘Anti Faff’, and my ability to make it up as I go along"

Name: Gary Oliver

Your Role: Tech Guy (Lighting and Projection)

The Batman and Robin of lighting: John Tonks & Gary Oliver (waiting for something to fall from the gantry) 

The Batman and Robin of lighting: John Tonks & Gary Oliver (waiting for something to fall from the gantry) 

And for the uninitiated that involves? Serious Answer - Creating the lighting design and plot for the show.  Working with our amazing tech team to make sure we have all the projection material ready.  Then 4 days of get in and plotting. Realistic Answer – Spend the 4 days before the show shouting orders at our poor tech team and pretending to the director that everything is under control when it clearly isn’t(!) as we haven’t planned anything.  Then spending two 12 hour days doing the most boring job in the world, trying to make the lighting desk do what I want it to do having forgot how to use it in the 11 months since the last show!

What from the rest of life helps you in your role? The mantra of ‘Anti Faff’, and my ability to make it up as I go along.

What’s your part of this show are you most looking forward to? Watching it all come together on the first night, and then the after show party!

What other shows have you done? All of the simply shows since the group was formed.

Can you recall a particularly memorable stage event that you contributed to? Return to the forbidden planet really does stand out in my memory.  Having never dealt with moving lights, projection or such a big lighting rig before it was a miracle it all worked!  Having spent the time between the dress rehearsal and the first night re-plotting half the show we hadn’t even run through the show from a technical point of view before the first audience arrived. 
What made it worse was 15 minutes before curtain up half the lighting on the band blew.  The director appeared back stage to the lighting crew up a ladder.  She took one look and headed for the bar.  Luckily it all ended in a standing ovation and ‘the worlds longest encore’...

Can you remember the first time you thought “I want to get involved in theatre”? It was at secondary school in year 8 when I realised that acting just wasn’t for me and I could have more fun hidden from view in the lighting deck.  Thankfully having the best drama teacher in the world Mr Samson helped, this was the days before health and safety where he had us hanging off the worlds most unsafe scaffolding tower at 2am getting ready for the school shows.

What are you enjoying most about being part of Simply Theatre? The way both the cast and crew all interact so well, and have a great laugh every time we get together.

What else to you get up to when you’re not working in theatre? I am company director of an IT company, and am turning a real 747-400 cockpit into a simulator. (

No Day But Today