Alumna Nicola lights up the West End

Posted: 28th June 2023

Photo of Nicola

Alumna Nicola joined us in Year 12 following the completion of her GCSEs at Tewkesbury School. During her time at All Saints’ Academy Sixth Form, she pursued A Levels in Product Design, Film Studies, and Art. Subsequently, Nicola graduated from Bath Spa University with a Theatre Design BA (Hons) degree. Recently, we had the opportunity to catch up with Nicola and learn about her fantastic journey in lighting up the West End!

What were your Sixth Form highlights?

I was Head Student with my close friend Matt and that was great as we got lots of really great opportunities and became the faces of the Sixth Form. I liked being involved in the Dance Shows and the musicals and just being involved in theatre as always.

What have you been up to since finishing Sixth Form?

Since finishing Sixth Form I went to Bath Spa University to study Theatre Production, I then graduated, and I’ve been working in the theatre industry as a Lighting Designer. I toured with Beautiful: The Carole King musical as a Deputy Electrician all around the country. I have recently worked on The Great British Bake Off musical which started in Cheltenham and then transferred to the West End in February. I then worked on Bonnie and Clyde at the Garrick and Ain’t Too Proud at the Prince Edward all in the West End. I have just finished designing A Beautiful Thing in Bristol.

What is involved in lighting designing?

At the start in lighting design you tend to be there for the pre-production period and tech and then when the show opens your job is normally over as technicians take over. For the pre-production you are involved in rehearsals and meetings with directors and the reading of scripts. You then make a plan of where you going to put the lights in the building. Then you go into tech and run the whole show and plot in where the lights are going, what colour they are and the angles, this part will be with the actors and set and the next step will be the show opening.

Do you have any advice to get into the industry?

You can get into it in many different ways. A university course in this day and age does help. There are millions of courses out there, so it depends if you want to specialise in design immediately, lots of drama courses do it. I chose the course at Bath Spa University because it was production. You covered a lot of areas before you specialised. A university course helps but is not always needed. Networking is important. I milked my university course for everything I was paying for and met many people and asked as many questions as I could. This put me in a good position when I graduated.

 How did All Saints’ help you pursue your career path?

I think my choice of A Levels was quite specified as I knew I wanted to do theatre design. I chose Film Studies because it helped me analyse the aesthetics and angles. I chose Product design for obvious reasons; it was good for practical skills which I loved. I chose Art as I have always loved painting, I selected all of my A Levels to aid what I wanted to do in the future.

What show are you working on next?

The next thing that is almost confirmed is the Book Thief musical in Coventry and Leicester, which I am the Associate Lighting Designer. It is really interesting, and I will be working with a new designer that I haven’t worked for before.




Academy Life