St Kevin’s College year 13 pupil Isaac Steel does not know why he has such a passion for stage production.
But ever since he helped out behind the scenes with an Oamaru Intermediate School production, he has made it his mission to learn as much as he can about the industry.
He has worked on dozens of productions since then and takes care of lighting and sound at the St Kevin’s auditorium.
A good chunk of his school holidays was spent setting up ICAN Academy’s production of Super Troopers
“I just love it. I can’t explain it,” Isaac (17) said.
Last year, Isaac was diagnosed with dyslexia, but the diagnosis had helped him realise why he was so passionate about production.
“I know where my creative side comes from; I’m a very visual thinker.
“I find what helps me is highlighting scripts, because that is the important information I need.”
Over the past few years, Isaac has worked for event production and lighting company Southern Lights helping set up several Dunedin concerts such as Queen, Pink and Six60.
“It’s huge. You get basically assigned an area. You set everything up, test, and make sure everything works and then you go home smiling.”
For big concerts, lighting crews work the day and night before the events, and begin dismantling the equipment right after the act finishes.
It means they do not get to enjoy the concerts.
“They suggest when you are working you don’t go to the show, because it would take you too long to get from inside the stadium all the way around the back,” he said.
Isaac has also got an NCEA Level 3 certificate for entertainment and event operations through Entertainment Technology New Zealand (ETNZ).
At the ETNZ conference, he was given a youth technical award for his community involvement.
Next year, he hopes to find an electrical apprenticeship opportunity, ideally in Oamaru.
St Kevin’s College assistant principal Jo Walshe said Isaac’s skills had been a huge asset to the school, and they had a running joke they would have to fail him so he could keep running the auditorium.
“He is just an incredibly talented young man. He has been like that since he hit the place in year 9,” Ms Walshe said.
“We call the lighting booth see that ever changing.”