From frontman to backstage guru: Meet Technical Theatre Arts graduate Ned Siuipy
17 February 2022
Photo of Sink the Show event at Printworks
From starring in a pop band in Lithuania to a backstage lighting role at London’s biggest shows, Technical Theatre Arts graduate Ned Siuipys’ journey is going global.
How did your career as a technician start?
I was singing in a successful pop band, but being the main lead was not my cup of tea. I became more interested in a backstage role. I found a Music Management degree at Falmouth and then Googled the place and saw the beaches. It looked beautiful, so I moved to the UK to start my studies.
When I saw the sound and lighting at a University gig, I wanted to be more hands-on. The AMATA technicians let me turn the whole rig on and play with the lights, and I started learning in my free time. I was often still at AMATA when it closed at 10pm. I then helped with gigs and open mic nights at the University’s Stannary Bar, working with big local artists such as Hockeysmith and Milo Gore.
Swapping to Falmouth’s new Technical Theatre Arts degree was a good decision, it gave me a great technical background. But when I graduated in 2020 the entertainment industry had stopped, due to Covid-19, so I used the time to study for a postgraduate qualification. I then secured a placement programming the lighting for the UK Tim Minchin tour, one of the first tours to start after the pandemic.
What are you up to now?
I’m now freelancing at venues including the legendary London club Heaven, where I’ve worked with the biggest International drag queens. I’m working at Indigo at The O2, Troxy and most recently Printworks, where I was lighting Sink the Pink.
I’m putting artists on my CV including Jimmy Carr, Self Esteem, Rudimental, Bastille, Gabrielle and Martin Kemp. My lighting skills are transferable not only for live music but also boxing events, for the likes of Anthony Joshua, Michael Bisping and Tyson Fury.
How does working back stage compare to being the frontman of a band?
I get the same buzz before a big show as when I was singing – those butterflies in the stomach. Some shows bring their own lighting director, so I’m on hand to support them. If they don’t, I’m at the rehearsals to help with lighting design and I then operate the whole show. It can be challenging.
Do you have any advice for prospective students?
Be eager to learn and willing to work your way up. If you’re nice to people and you make connections, everything is possible. After Falmouth I felt prepared for industry. My background in performance helps; I know how artists feel about getting the lighting right because I’ve been there myself.
My goal is to do something super-big, such as Eurovision or the Super Bowl. I’d also love to be the lighting director or programmer on a proper tour and be paid to travel the world.