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Mon Apr 27, 2020

Q & A with Andrew Riter

Meet our staff!

A series of Q&As that take a peek behind the curtain at the working lives (and working-from-home lives) of Chan Centre staff members.

Here, we learn more about Assistant Technical Director and Head Lighting Technician Andrew Riter.

Name:

Andrew Riter

 

Chan Centre staff member since:

2002

 

What is your official job title?

Assistant Technical Director / Head Lighting Technician

 

What does that mean?

I am responsible for all event lighting in the multiple Chan Centre venues, working closely with clients, the artists, and their contractors; as well as with UBC Plant Operations on maintaining the building lighting.  I am also part of the leadership team responsible for the operation of the Production Department, which manages all the technical and production aspects of the Chan Centre and its activities.

 

Why a career in the arts? What is your background?

In theatre production, and as a music venue, it’s never the same day twice.  There are similarities and patterns, but everyday is different, or has the possibility of being very different.

My background started in high school theatre in Vancouver, and then through the theatre department at the University of Victoria, where I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts.  In the years that followed, I worked multiple seasons with Bard on the Beach, Arts Club Theatre, Vancouver Theatre Sports League, as well as other local companies designing and technically supporting theatre, musicals, festivals (Fringe Fest, Children’s Fest, First Night), and corporate and industrial events.

I’ve worked in ballrooms and hotel kitchens; at outdoor venues, from VanDusen Garden to Vanier Park to Malkin Bowl; rappelled down the outside of a building and the inside of a tent. Some shows lasted 45 minutes, while others lasted 4 months. I’ve driven cars, panel vans, 1 ton and 5 ton trucks, snorkel lifts and scissor lifts in parks and arenas. I’ve been inside BC Place stadium at 3am with a crew of 300 striking a U2 concert, and all by myself flooding an ice rink for Elizabeth Manley.

 

What is the coolest part of your job?

Going places most people don’t want to (usually very high up), and doing things most people can’t.

 

What part of your job could you do without?

Stairs, stairs, stairs, and oh yeah, just one more flight of stairs.

Again.

And just one more slight focus adjustment.

 

What is your favourite part of the building?

Upstairs, in the catwalk.

 

What is your least favourite part of the building?

The stairs to the catwalk.

Andrew high above the Chan Shun Concert Hall's canopy (more than 60’ above stage)

In theatre production, and as a music venue, it’s never the same day twice.  There are similarities and patterns, but everyday is different, or has the possibility of being very different.

Andrew Riter

Other than the Chan Centre, what is your favourite spot at UBC?

SW Marine Drive, either early morning, or late at night.

 

What is your go-to UBC lunch grab?

Brown-bagging it from home.

 

If you could hire any living artist to appear on the Chan Centre stage, who would it be?

Mark Knopfler, Steve Martin, Roger Waters and/or David Gilmore.

 

The tables have turned, and it’s you headlining the concert hall stage tonight with unlimited artistic talent. What do you perform?

Ha! No.

Or, John Cage’s “4’33.”

 

Chan Centre staff are working from home these days. What’s helping you cope? Keeping you inspired?

I now have a window WITH DAYLIGHT at the “office.”

 

 

Andrew is also an important part of the team that prepares for and produces UBC Graduation each May and November. Watch a behind-the-scenes video below.