A LIGHTING designer from Garstang who has worked internationally and on high-profile events has praised the theatre which first sparked his interest.
David Horner, who was born and brought up in Lancaster, has worked abroad, in London’s West End, and for television.
His love of theatre began 22 years ago when he joined The Dukes youth theatre, in Lancaster, then known as The Bottleshop, because he heard they were planning a trip to New York.
The three-week trip involved performing in rich and poor schools in the Big Apple.
“It was such a great experience for a 14-year-old, and made me want to travel more,” said David, 36.
The former Ripley St Thomas School pupil stayed at The Bottleshop for several years. He visited Poland, and was a pirate in The Dukes production of Treasure Island.
David became more interested in the technical side of productions during work experience at The Dukes. He went on to study electrical engineering, and his first job was at Manchester Opera House and the Palace Theatre, where he was involved in setting up big shows, including Les Miserables.
A nine-month stint working on the West End production of Whistle Down The Wind followed, before David left to join the biggest lighting company in London.
Since then, David has worked mainly on cruise ships. “Three years ago I opened a new show in six countries in 40 days. One day I’d be having dinner in Venice and the next, I’d be lunching in New Zealand. The travel has been amazing,” he added.
David helped light the London Eye for the Millennium celebrations, and has set up lighting for Celebrity Big Brother, and for the first televised General Election debates between the party leaders in 2010. “It’s exciting to know you’re working on a show that’s being seen by millions of people,” said David.
Now settled with a wife and young son in Garstang, David has set up Visual Connection Ltd, supplying equipment, video content and design expertise. This year he will also work on a cruise around the Bahamas.
“When people complain about money being spent on the arts, they should remember that if it wasn’t for places like The Dukes, people like me wouldn’t have such good careers and be investing money into the economy through the tax we’re paying,” said David.