Ryan is Engineering a Sound Future
Ivybridge Community College Year 11 student, Ryan Bailey is indeed an inspirational student.
Whilst worked on the technical sound and lighting side of College productions such as ‘Billy Elliot’ and the Gym and Dance Show, at the same time he has been setting up and running his own company, Plymouth’s ‘Unity Production’, working with celebrities and providing sound and lighting systems for a variety of shows, productions and festivals.
One of his most recent jobs was doing the sound and lighting for the Angus Deayton ‘Radio Active’ tour when they were in Plymouth at Millbay’s Red House Theatre, on Sunday, 19 May.
Ryan, who would like to be a sound engineer in the future, joined the College’s Technical Theatre Group at the start of Year 9, under the guidance and encouragement of the College’s Performing Arts Manager, Mr Simon Whitehorn. Ryan says, “the Technical Theatre Group, led by Mr Whitehorn at Ivybridge Community College, has definitely helped me by properly educating me in all aspects of the technical, lighting and sound set-ups.”
He is currently balancing revising for his GCSEs with his external production work on Thursday and Friday evenings, to avoid homework and revision clashes. Whilst he has had an unconditional offer from City College Plymouth to study ‘Live Events Production’ he may decide to continue with his studies at Ivybridge Community College, following his external examination results. He then hopes to move to London to work as a sound engineer on top West End shows.
In addition, he is a self – taught musician, who has played both drums and piano from an early age, and has always loved the atmosphere of performing in shows and performances; in fact it is this that he enjoys the most, and it is what motivates him. Playing music and visiting various venues with well-known Plymouth band, the Meltones (in which he plays drums, and also includes his dad on piano), Ryan has been able to experience all sides of the performance, including the sound and lighting technical aspects.
Ryan designs sound and light displays, managing mixing desks and lighting booths, mostly using his own kit. He recently spent £2,000 on new equipment, paid for by earnings from his events.
Students Gain Valuable Hands-on Experience and Qualifications
Do you ever watch the College’s spectacular productions and wonder how the fabulous scenery, lighting, sound, props and costume are created? The work is done by a small but dedicated team of students, across all years, who are members of the College’s Technical Theatre Group. They all share a passion for theatre, but perhaps are not so keen on performing. The group meets on a Monday after College, but also put in a lot of additional hours too, covering the productions.
The senior members of the group have years of experience of running performances and managing performance spaces, both at the College and in other venues, and we rely on these students to run our theatre spaces. Students have the opportunity to gain a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award; a qualification validated by technical theatre’s governing body, the Association of British Theatre Technicians. Our more experienced students undertake a formal qualification in Working at Height to enable them to safely and legally use ladders and access equipment.
For many members of the Technical Theatre Group working backstage on shows is just a hobby, but for some, such as with Year 11 student, Ryan Bailey, it becomes their career.
Simon Whitehorn, the College’s Performing Arts Manager, said, “Ryan has always been at the core of the Technical Theatre Group and his expertise is growing rapidly. He is a very accomplished theatre sound operator and musician and we are always pleased to have him working on our shows.”