Harry won his Breakthrough Award back in 2019 and has already started his incredibly successful career touring the world with ER Productions. We caught up with him in the midst of his busiest Summer ever.
How did your passion for the production industry begin?
Both my parents worked in the industry before I was born, my Dad was a rigger, and my Mum a caterer. From an early age, I would hear stories about their time in the industry and I could see how much they enjoyed that part of their life. When I was 13 they took me and my older brother to Glastonbury music festival, from there on I knew that I wanted to be in that environment as much as possible and surround myself with music and events.
How did you get into the production industry?
As soon as I turned 18 I moved from my hometown, Northampton, to London. I always wanted to move to London as I loved visiting there when I was young. Soon after the move, I started working for Stage Miracles as a stagehand across many different venues in London including Brixton Academy, The o2, Wembley Arena, Wembley Stadium, Hammersmith Apollo, and many others.
Did you even know then how to start your career?
When I first started working with Stage Miracles I didn’t really understand the full scale of productions, the amount of work and effort from many different departments took me by surprise. I’ll always remember my first ever show/load-in, it was for Lady Gaga at the o2 Arena back in 2014, with something like over 40 trucks and over a hundred local crew. It blew my young, naive mind seeing this and I thought what have I got myself into? Of course, not all shows are to that scale and as time went by and I worked on productions of all sizes I learned more and more. As a stagehand, every day is different – working at different venues and with different departments. It’s a great way for someone who doesn’t quite know what they want to do to get a little taste of each and find out what you enjoy most.
Was there anyone who influenced you along the way to get to where you are today?
Both my parents were a huge influence on me getting started within the industry. I have also met some great people along the way who have pushed me to be better and have given me opportunities, taken their time to train and supported me throughout the years. All of the stage managers and crew chiefs at Stage Miracles were fantastic and looked out for me from day one, I wouldn’t be where I am today without them and its always fun to see them while out on the road. In general, I find that the people that work in the industry make the effort for newcomers and are supportive, it’s made me want to follow in their footsteps and I always take time to speak to and to pass on knowledge to the next generation. When starting at ER Productions the technicians there made me feel part of the team right away, they all were an influence to me and still are!
How old were you when you won your Breakthrough Talent Award back in 2019?
I was 24 when I won the Breakthrough Talent award.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
To pinpoint one highlight of my career so far is a really difficult thing to do. Starting with ER Productions as a Laser Technician is something that really has changed my life. Its enabled me to tour across the world and learn a niche in the industry. I’m very grateful for all the training and time that they have put into my development. All of the senior technicians have took me under their wings and are always there if I run into any problems. Likewise with the management, it’s a good team to be part of and I hope for a long career with them. And of course, winning the TPi Production Future’s Breakthrough Talent Award back in 2019 is a highlight of my career so far. It was great to be recognised for my work and feels like a big achievement. I have also gone on to win 2 ILDA awards, both for the ‘Best Live TV Show’ in 2020 & 2021. The ILDA awards is basically the oscars of the laser world, so its great to be recognised within the laser industry as well.
How have you spent the last two years?
When the pandemic first hit all of the technicians at ER were set weekly programming tasks to keep our skills sharp. It was good to be able to practice and hone in on some skills when normally finding the time to do that is hard. I was also lucky enough to be able to take home a GrandMA3 Compact XT as recently we have extended our stock of them. It was great to be able to learn the desk more and to create a busking workspace for me to use on shows.
As the world started to open up more I was sent to America to go on tour with Tame Impala. From August to November I was touring North America with them, which for me was a dream come true as they have been one of my favourite bands for a long time. The crew and band are great and it’s a really fun tour to be part of. The show is designed by Rob Sinclair and looks fantastic, the lasers have their moment in the set and really stand out. It’s always a great feeling when the first big laser moment happens as the crowd always go wild. A new look for this tour was to use a laser at front of house which projects onto the video wall behind the band, its a unique way of using lasers and a special moment in the set.
What was your highlight of 2021?
My highlight of 2021 was being the laser programmer and operator of the Worlds Largest laser show, which was achieved at the closing ceremony of the Dubai World Cup in March. The show consisted of 824 laser emission sources, spread over 800 meters. All the hard work I put into learning the GrandMA during the start of the pandemic paid off as I was able to use those skills in this show. It’s a massive team effort putting on a show this scale, from the guys in the warehouse getting the gear ready to the people on site cabling all those lasers up.
What would your advice be to yourself 5 years ago?
If I could give myself advice 5 years ago it would be to not be so afraid to put myself in front of people. Don’t be shy to others working in this industry, most people I have met in my career are always happy to share their knowledge and to help younger people achieve their own goals.
Any advice to anyone who wants to work in this industry?
My advice to anyone who wants to work in this industry is to put yourself out there, get out of your comfort zone and dive straight in.
put yourself out there, get out of your comfort zone and dive straight in!
Be friendly to everyone you meet along the way and don’t become a sour road dog. Remember why we do this job – to put on events for people to enjoy and have a good time.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
I’m really looking forward to getting back on the road with Tame Impala, we’re doing tours in the states, Europe and then Australia later in the year which is bound to be good fun. ER Productions have also just built a new warehouse, we have two previs suites and also a huge demo room packed with lasers, I’m excited to make use of these as well! It’s great to be busy again this year, hopping from gig to gig doing what I enjoy, putting on some laser shows!