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Going from General crew to Designer

Hi, I’m Jess and I’m the incoming Safety and Welfare officer for 2023-24. Recently, I took on the role of sound designer for the 2023 LAMMPS’ show, The Addams Family. The step up from sound engineer to designer can feel like a big one, but it was so rewarding, and I loved seeing the show come together!

Before show week, my jobs included sourcing sound effects, creating a mic plot, planning out the band pit and sorting relevant hires. At load in, I led the department setting up the band-pit, speakers, sound desk and checking it all works! Sound is a department of lots of troubleshooting, and I can guarantee it will never work perfectly the first time, but I enjoyed figuring out what part went wrong and fixing it as it’s like a big logic puzzle!

The Addams Family full crew photo

During the tech and dress, you undoubtedly do more fixing things, but this is where things are meant to go wrong so that by the show nights, hopefully you can sit back and let the general crew mix and run the sound effects off Qlab whilst you enjoy watching the show (or write your coursework!) One thing that’s great about designing is the ability to add a bit more creative input as you have two meetings with the society before show week. Even though things like radio mics and the band pit are often similar for each of the musicals we do, micing characters with large prosthetic make up and making sound effects such as “sounds of the city including a scream and two gunshots” was a fun creative challenge for Addams! Designing also allows you to form friendships with the society- particularly the Music Director as a Sound Designer- as you work with them a lot more closely than as general crew.

Band Pit during The Addams Family

My advice to anyone who wants to design is, if you’ve general crewed enough to feel like you’ve got to grips with the department, go for it! There were definitely some challenging moments and it seemed intimidating to start with, but with the help of my advisors (and a bit of making it up as you go along), I sound designed for the first time and really enjoyed it! I am very grateful to everyone who helped me out as I felt supported every step of the way and able to ask whatever questions I needed (thank you to all of you!). I definitely didn’t know everything going into the process and I learnt so much in one week, but I’d highly recommend it as taking on a designer role increased my confidence, not only in sound, but generally too!

If you’ve got any questions about designing for the first-time, feel free to email me at or come and chat to committee in person as we’re always happy to help!

Addams Family sound crew photo


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