Gateway to Entertainment Technician

Posted on 2016-12-06 by CM

Budding lighting designer Jack Hooper’s first introduction to stage lighting was in year 12 at his school, Avondale College. “I remember looking at this amazing lighting console with all the flashing lights and realising this is what I want to do. The lighting makes or breaks the show,” says Jack. By chance a teacher at the school introduced Jack to the Gateway Course where he was able to spend 1 day a week over 10 weeks at Oceania Productions, New Zealand’s largest production company. It was a perfect match. As part of the Gateway Course Jack was also trained in First Aid and Working at Heights. These essential courses later allowed him to easily transition to Rope Rescue and Elevated Working Platforms. With work experience under his belt he was hooked.

Throughout Year 13, Jack continued working part time during the holidays helping pack in and pack out various shows at the Q theatre in Auckland. With school finished and having proven himself within the Gateway Course, Jack was offered a full time position at Oceania, part of the NW Group of Companies, Australasia's largest technical solutions company. This has allowed him to get hands on experience across a range of lighting services including theatre, corporate events, concerts and dance parties.

“Variation is the key for me to learn as much as possible. At Oceania I have mentors who are helping me to learn about the latest technical innovations, teaching me how to operate lighting consoles like the Hog 4, and how to use the best CAD software to design and plot gigs,” says Jack, as he thinks just how far he has come in such a short period of time. The hardest part of the job so far is not even the job itself, which he loves, but rather managing the long hours, fatigue and time away from family and friends. But all of that fades away when he is out on projects as diverse as dance parties with the best DJ’s in the business, TV Shows at Māori TV and the musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

Jack explains, “In the future I want to do LED screens and Vision systems as well as lighting, as the line between the technologies is becoming more and more blurred. I also want to gain a New Zealand Certificate in Entertainment and Event Operations (Level 3).” This is the first technical qualification of its kind offered in New Zealand, which will be released in early 2017, and will be recognised in Australia, the UK and in America. Jack is also looking at working with one of the other NW Group companies in Australia and having a British passport means adventure beckons. There is no doubt that with the skills Jack is learning within the NW Group he will be able to follow his dream to design and operate lighting and vision systems for large scale dance parties and concerts all over the world.


 Jack Hooper doing what he loves