Live gigs,Touring

Blog interview: Mark Wynn-Edwards

You are a lighting designer and board operator, how did it all begin for you? 

It all started at school I was very much drawn to the tech side of it. 

But all the way from school I wanted to be a desk op and designer 

I then worked the weekend at the local theatre, Then full time at the local 

auditorium from there I was offered a chance to work with a large local 

lighting company who taught me how to do the job and then from there I was 

given a chance to work at Vari- Lite so I jumped at that chance slowly slowly 

moving though and eventually becoming Self employed 

Your lighting designs have allowed you to work with a veritable who’s who what was the trigger point for you to get started? 

There was no real trigger point it was very much a case of working for a lighting company and been around and saying I want to go on tour and be desk op etc. 

In the end you get a go and if you float you are away and it’s up to you to make it work.

You’ve set up lighting in venues around the world, what has been your favourite? 

All venues have their merits and qurksks telex arena Mexico for the load in being amazing – Santiago Arena for the backstage area… I could go on but I don’t give the venue much thought as I don’t normally get to see much of 

them unless its particularly special . 

What’s the biggest challenge, and the easiest part of your role? 

The biggest challenge is been away from home and missing family events 

Away on tour its very easy to be very alone and be miserable and most 

people who have managed to get to the top of the game are all very similar 

people and just get on with people and just get on with it. 

As for easy is anything ever easy? I feel very blessed to be paid to see stuff that people save for years to see.

Pre COVID, you were working with Simple Minds, what’s been a highlight of their show? 

There are many highlights the first one beIng I was never supposed to be their LD and Lead Creative. 

I was sent to do a few weeks looking after the Media servers by a lighting company I work with and the fellow who was there doing lights etc wasn’t a well man and just not keeping up with the day, When a natural break in the 

schedule happened I got a call out the blue asking for me to carry it on. 

I was told to design a show with what we already have make it yours but respect where it was……now 3 years later we have come a long way down the road and it’s brilliant . 

The other part that I truly adore about working with them is its not just touring arena and large venues. 

In the summer we do gigs in bits of roman history, the sort of thing you look at images of the place and think ooooh what we gonna do here that looks fun fun!!!!! 

You find yourself halfway through a run of the show standing there figuring how to use what we have to make it work that day, knowing the show file so well that 

you can mess with what happens ….that big moment that lights the drummer now lights a part of the building bringing all that architecture into the show for one night. 

COVID has impacted the creative industry in a big way, what has kept you motivated? 

The will to survive has kept me motivated, provide for my family and get out the other side of it with everyones health. 

This past year has been crazy some serious lows and so many deaths, but I dust my self down and fight again as thats what you have to do. I came off the road 9 shows into a world tour of 300 or so shows. I had a good bit of time trying to level in my head all the stuff I wasn’t going to 

do now both financially off the back of it but in places I knew we were going, I was also getting a level that the years work beforehand including a months 

worth of programming was for nothing ……fair to say that took some working through. I am glad for family and friends who could see I was hurting and just let me be for a while 

2020 has been seen as a time to reflect, what did you learn about yourself? 

There has been a lot of quiet contemplation this past year 

I realised some decisions I had made as much as they hurt at the time were for the best such as none of my equipment is on loans its all 100% paid so I could just close the doors and walk away and its all safe and waiting for me. 

I also learned just how amazing the world of touring and entertainment really is as much as we are believed to be a crowd of drunk drugged up idiots we are far 

from it and could show the world a thing or to about logistics and work ethic . 

As for myself I enjoyed slowing down having nothing to think about other than family.

If you could provide the lighting rig for three of your dream acts, who would they be? 

I learned the hard way not to work with acts you like, You have to leave a place to go and be yourself in your world of favourite music 

That being said I do already work with two acts who I adore this being Doves and Lamb. Great music and lovely people and I still listen to them for pleasure. 

I am these days happy to do whatever as long as it’s an interesting gig…. got a gig on a plane (again) I’m there ….gig in cave I’m there ….gig on a roof top let’s go. 

You’ve provided lighting for tv, live music and film, what to you has been your favourite experience? 

I attract the world of random at this point in my work and also working with high level artist brings with it going to places you just don’t normally go and in turn also meet the people working in these places and that’s great. 

Doing a show in the Kremlin was kinda special and equally scary but then in a place like that there is always the person who is happy to show you stuff as you have showed an interest and that makes this style of show so very special . 

In the 25 + years had a good few moments where I have stepped out the bubble and thought wow this is a bit crazy but you have to step back in and get to work can think about it all later. 

Working in the world of film was interesting as its mostly the same equipment just used differently was great to be learning new stuff.

What’s your go to set up? 

The only constant I have is the lighting console driving it all and for me that is Whole Hog consoles own a good few now, of various sizes and spec to help make getting the job done as easy as possible. 

How much creative control do you get when putting together lighting for a show? 

Most of the time its 100% with some direction have a good few clients who work with the attitude of i’m paying for a pro let them do what they do. 

Sometimes you get a bit of an idea what is wanted by the client a lot of the time on large projects I’m more a hub and I let other professionals do what they do all one big team headed to an end goal. 

If you could have gone on a tour with anyone to run their rig, anytime in the past, who would you choose? 

I wish I could have witnessed Queen fronted by Freddie as much as Adam Lambert does an amazing job . 

Also wish I could have seen Pantera live …missed them by a day following them across America on another tour. 

What are you looking forward to next? 

I’m looking forward to resuming the tour and seeing what this new normal brings. 

I hope history repeats itself and we have a modern version of the roaring 50s again with everyone just wanting to be entertained. 


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