I first worked as a technician on a school production of The Ghost Train back in 1990. Over the years I worked on a further twenty-five school shows, both building set and doing lighting work.
In 1996 I matriculated at Churchill College. When the vice-chancellor famously told engineers that they should have hobbies that didn't involve their subject, I took him at his word, promptly spending the next four years doing nothing but theatre, radio and even a little rowing.
I discovered the ADC Theatre early in my first year, and I spent a large amount of my time there, crewing shows as diverse as Waiting For Godot, City of Angels and Up For It - The Footlights Spring Revue. My first lighting design at the ADC was for Tang Xnam, the King's Contemporary Dance Project's annual showcase. The design was well received, and I've been invited back every year since! I also designed the lighting for the Student Art Exhibition and for a production of What the Butler Saw. My first Technical Directing job at the ADC was for a Mayweek production of Table Manners, and the get-in ran smoothly enough that I still managed to make it to the garden parties on Suicide Sunday. I was also elected Technician on the ADC Committee, where I worked alongside the Rebecca Shurz (later ADC Manager). Further exploits from my first year included a trip to Scarborough with Waiting for Godot which had been selected for the National Student Drama Festival.
Starting to aquire a reputation for building overly structural sets, my second year began with technical directing Black Comedy, a show that required a two storey set that wasn't allowed to wobble when two people walked into it while carrying furniture! I also lighting designed East, which we later performed a second time for the NSDF judges. The show was directed by Nancy Hirst, and remains one of the most captivating, shocking and all-round brilliant shows I've ever seen performed on the ADC stage. My Michaelmas term also involved running lots of workshops for Fresher technicians, and I concluded the term by touring Europe as Lighting Designer for the European Theatre Group's production of Hamlet.
In the summer of 1998, after working throughout Camfest, I went to Edinburgh in my new capacity as ADC Club Technical Director, did a crazy week of get-ins, technical rehearsals and generally ensuring the Club's shows happened (Ticklebang and Into The Woods amongst them), which also included organising all the transport! I then headed back to Cambridge to rehearse for the ADC America Tour (Macbeth). Technical Directing this one involved all sorts of silly stuff, including my trip to deepest, darkest Wales to obtain some tree trunks from the nice man with the chainsaw at the forestry commission. I had a great time in on tour in the states; the best bit was our visit to Frostberg, an all-out party place in the middle of nowhere, where the residents remember us to this day!
My third year was a silly year, in which I did quite a lot of really big shows and quite a lot of Technical Directing. In Michaelmas I ended up Technical Directing, or assistan/exec TDing in weeks 0,1,3,5 and 6, producing a week 6 lateshow and working on a Marlowe production in college. In Lent I ended up TDing probably the largest (set-wise at least) ADC show I've ever worked on - Lucky Stiff - a musical that was produced by Liam McGee. Not everyone had forgotten that my main interst in theatre was lighting however, and in week 8 I did a combined lighting design for * FAME * THE MUSICAL * and the King's Contemporary Dance Show, Jinz Xang. I also ended up TDing another Mayweek show, Salad Days, a show that I'd done several years earlier and loved. It's certainly contained some of the nicest set I've built to date. Again, I managed to get the set on stage, provide the first champagne-fried-breakfast of Suicide Sunday and still make it to all the garden parties!
For my second visit to the Edinburgh fringe, I worked on no less than five shows each day (Movers, Toast, Far Far Away, Assassins, A Turquoise Coyote Under Your Pillow), found plenty of time for socialising, watched the complete collection of Bond videos that happened to be in our flat, and somehow managed to come back from Edinburgh in profit!
During my fourth year, I Technical Directed the Footlights Pantomime, Sherlock Holmes and found myself doing rather a lot of dance lighting designs (Fused, Sprung, Kang Zinj, Of Love and Number, and Movers at The Place). I finished up the year by Technical Directing the Cambridge Footlights Summer Tour (Sensible Haircut), building set for Kirstin's Edinburgh shows and working on a little-known show called Garth Marenghi. Garth was put together by some recent ex-Footlights friends of mine, and is a comedy about a horror writer. Extremely funny, the show got excellent reviews in the national press, sold well on word of mouth, and to cap it all, we got nominated for the Perrier Award. Nevermind not winning, the Perrier Party was one hell of a gig, and we got to perform the show in London as part of our prize.
Graduation meant doing fewer shows, but I think also meant doing a better job of them. The dance shows continued although the producing company morphed from Kings Contemporary dance to Cambridge Univerisity Contemporary Dance Workshop, and latterly Cambridge University Dance Society. Technical directing work continued as did set building for several Footlights tours. Other things popped up like designing the Camfest lighting rig - a huge design shared by 20+ shows over a four week run. I went back to the Edinburgh fringe with Garth Marenghi's Netherhead which this time won the Perrier Award, and with it the opportunity to perform the show in Her Majesty's Theatre in London's West End (a huge venue normally home to Phantom of the Opera). Other trips to London included a Lighting Design for Phil Breen's production of Destiny at Battersea Arts Centre
2007 brought the founding of Cambridge Contemporary Dance and with it a huge range of performances. Foremost amongst these was a production titled Light Matter performed in the Cambridge University Senate House.
And on it goes... I'm still working as a Lighting Designer in and around Cambridge in The Junction, The Mumford, The ADC and various smaller venues. I've done a number of co-designs with Rob Loxley including Guys and Dolls for Pied Pipers (comically this gets a picture in The Stage), and Avenue Q and Hot Mikado for Festival Players. Current regular committments include the enormously fun CUTAZZ dance show each year, and Sprung (a contemporary dance show in Queens College each spring).©Eddy Langley - This page last updated 29 August 2014