Heath Roberts has been a member of Theatre iNQ productions for a couple of years now – whether you’ve seen him on stage or not. As part of our Next Gen feature, we caught up with Heath to find out more about the technical side of theatre, as well as what the 2019 Bridge Project member is hoping to achieve next.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED IN THE TECHNICAL SIDE OF THEATRE?
It started with school-based work experience with TheatreiNQ to help in the lead-up to the 2017 performance of Alice In Wonderland. They invited me to stay to help out with the shows and during this time they encouraged me to join the tech group at Pimlico State High School and also asked if I would like to come back and help during their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. During the rest of 2017 I fell in love with the technical side of theatre and was surprised how many learning opportunities I could find in Townsville.
WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENTS SO FAR?
In the grand scheme of things, I’m relatively new to the world of theatre, so my biggest accomplishments are hopefully just the start. One of my biggest accomplishments is being asked to join TheatreiNQ’s Bridge Project as a technician at the start of 2018. Terri Brabon gave me the opportunity because she liked my personality and work ethic. This was a huge compliment to the shy, reserved person that I was.
WHAT IS IT THAT YOU LOVE ABOUT THEATRE TECH?
There are two main reasons: one is the constant problem solving. Yes, it’s frustrating facing a problem that you have no idea how to solve; but when you spend what seems like forever researching and using trial and error, and finally figure out how something works it feels great, and often you learn something that makes you better at what you do. Reason two is the best thing about theatre in general, which is the people. It is the most common answer because it’s true, people in this industry often do it because they love it and those people are always good to be around and are likely to be nice enough to help you learn.
HOW ARE YOU CONTINUING TO IMPROVE?
I am very aware of how far I have to go until I can get a real job as a technician. I am lucky to be in an environment where others are actively teaching me and where I can go off on my own and study a certain area using professional equipment. I often seek out things that I know nothing about and that I know will frustrate me because those situations often lead to learning fundamental skills and allow for other situations to be easier to navigate.
WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Inspiration for me comes from many different places. I often get inspired by the technology. I sometimes find random software of lighting fixtures and spend weeks playing with them until I feel I could use it to its full potential. Although the tech is important to the technician, the main driving force behind becoming what I want to be is the people and the friends I’ve found in theatre; the most inspiring and the most influential person on my career and my life is my technical theatre teacher at Theatre iNQ, Brendan O’Connor. Brendan is the person that brought me into the world of technical theatre and he continues to enlighten me and guide me to the future he believes I could have.
WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE IN 5 YEARS’ TIME?
I hope to be working as a technician in a beautiful theatre and hopefully I will have some good people there with me.
WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU’VE LEARNED SO FAR?
You’re going to mess up, don’t let it get in your head, just stay focused and be better next time.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO TELL PEOPLE WHO KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THE TECHNICAL SIDE OF THEATRE?
The people you never see are smart, interesting and devoted people that thrive to entertain the audience just as much as the performers.
FINISH THIS SENTENCE. I THINK THE TOWNSVILLE ARTS COMMUNITY… can get better, grow larger, be stronger.