The Chief Electrician (often abbreviated as CLX) is the senior member of the theatre's stage lighting team, although not necessarily the lighting designer. In common with many theatre jobs, the actual duties of the Chief Electrician vary from theatre to theatre. Some chiefs are responsible for electrical maintenance of the building, some design the lighting for nearly every in-house production, some design no lighting at all.
When necessary, will work with the Lighting Designer and Production Electrician to ensure that all lanterns are set up on stage according to the Lighting Designer's plans, that they are focussed correctly in order to achieve the desired effects, and that they are all patched to the expected channels in the lighting desk. They will be responsible for fixing any electrical problems that occur during the get-in.
Often, the Chief Electrician is responsible for programming the lighting desk (if a "blind plot" has not been done beforehand), and operating it during technical rehearsals, making changes to the lighting states as requested by the Lighting Designer.
This role requires a certain amount of pre-planning in conjunction with the Lighting Designer in the days leading up to the get-in, to ensure that the get-in runs as smoothly as possible. Such planning can include cutting all gels to the correct sizes for the lanterns to be used, and ensuring that a plan for patching lanterns to channels exists.
Most shows in Cambridge will allow the Lighting Designer to make a choice as to whether they want to use a Chief Electrician, or take on the additional repsonsibilities of the Chief Electrician role themselves.