David Imrie, a graduate from Derby’s BSc (Hons) Sound, Light, and Live Event Technology program, chose Derby for its strong engineering focus, influenced by a former boss who was a Derby graduate. Throughout his studies, his confidence grew, and he acquired a diverse skill set encompassing problem-solving, electro-acoustics, and more. Surprisingly, he developed a newfound appreciation for sound operation alongside his passion for lighting. Reflecting on his time at the university, David highlights the birth of his daughter as the most memorable moment, which was a surprise to us all! Professionally, David has enjoyed a successful career as a theater technical manager, with freelance opportunities enriching his experiences. Looking ahead, David envisions transitioning into more freelance work once his children are older, while currently finding contentment in his role at The Core at Corby Cube.


David Imrie photo.

David Imrie, Class of 2014


Collingham, North East of Nottingham

Current location:


Current job + employer:

Chief technician, The Core at Corby Cube + freelance engineer

What did you do/study prior to coming to Derby?

I worked in local theatres for 2 years before starting at Derby.

Why did you choose to go to the University of Derby?

Looked like the best course for the engineering side. I had a boss who had graduated several years before.

Did you start the course with a specific focus or were you undecided?

I always wanted to work in the theatre side, as a technical manager/director.

Did that focus change on the course? If so, how?

Not at all.

Has that focus changed on graduating? If so, how?

Not really, I do some wider freelance now and again into custom lighting installs and other projects.

What was the most useful thing you learned on the course?

The biggest thing was my confidence growing. I became much quicker at problem-solving and massively broadened my knowledge.

What did you learn on the course that you thought you’d never use, but that has come in handy during your career?

All sorts of things. A big part of venue management is knowing enough to communicate with very specialised contractors, so knowledge of electro-acoustics, health and safety, building regs, legal aspects, electronics, electrical installation, rigging, and even plumbing is important. I also have a pool of friends who I can call when I’m in a bind and draw on their advice.

What did you do on the course that you never thought you would enjoy?

I got more into sound operation, I had always really been a lampy. Now I have to be able to do both, and that’s really helped.

What was your favourite establishment in Derby (pub, bar, club, restaurant, etc.)?

The New Zealand Arms was where most of my dissertation was done…

What is your most memorable moment from Derby?

My daughter was born in my third year so I guess I have to say that!

What/who at Derby most influenced your life, and how/why?

I had a lot of help from all the lecturers and they dragged me through it! It really got me to where I am today.

What would you say to a Derby first year student, knowing what you know now?

Do as much as you can. In uni and outside of it. You only get that kind of freedom to experiment once in life. It’s rare for a technician to be free from budgets and clients!

What have you done professionally since graduating?

Many years as a theatre technical manager in a few different venues and had the opportunity to work all over the country on events as a freelancer.

Have any Derby alumni or staff opened any doors for you? If so, who?

I have worked with a couple of alumni. My current manager Andy Swinney was a very early Derby graduate. They also pop up at various trade shows and companies and are always very good connections to have.

What is your most memorable moment from your career so far?

I once put a mic on Brian Blessed. Always wanted to meet him and that was so cool!

What are your future career plans/ambitions?

Once the kids are older I want to move into more freelance work, but at the moment I am happy with a nice 37 hours a week in theatre.

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