INTRODUCING...DAVID SLATER, GROUP DIRECTOR OF HIRE

David Slater heads up our busy Hire service, which supplies a range of equipment to the events industry, from lighting, sound and video to staging, power, rigging and draping.

Open 7 days per week, whether you’re looking for a simple hire for a local village hall event, require custom-made drapes for a TV show or you’re seeking a trusted partner to supply kit for a theatre production or music tour, Dave’s team are there to help. We caught up with him to find out what makes him tick.

How did you get into the industry?

My background is in theatre and I attended the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, where I studied ‘Technical Theatre and Stage Management’. The course gave me a really good grounding in lots of different areas, including lighting, sound, stage construction and wardrobe. From there, I completed a season at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, where I specialised in lighting. I also worked at Dublin Theatre festival and the Edinburgh Fringe, then came back to Leicestershire to be Assistant Electrician at the Haymarket Theatre in Leicester, before progressing to Chief Electrician.

Theatre has always been my great passion and whilst my career now encompasses technical production for a diverse range of events, theatre remains a big part of my life. I’m thrilled that Hawthorn has recently expanded further into supply equipment for theatre productions; it’s really exciting!

How long have you worked at Hawthorn?

I have now been at Hawthorn for nearly 17 years, but it has almost been like working for 4 different companies as things have changed and grown so much over the years. I started as an Account Handler in the Hire department and then worked my way up the ranks to my current role as Group Director of Hire.

How do you decide which equipment to invest in?

We’re as partial to the latest new shiny bit of kit as the next technician! Fundamentally, it’s essential for us to stock a wide range of key products from leading manufacturers and we always listen to our customers to ensure we can supply what works for them. 

What are the biggest changes in the technical production industry since you started?

I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years and the changes in technology have been phenomenal. Amongst many things, the development, accessibility and quality of moving and LED fixtures has been nothing short of revolutionary, as has the evolution of line array.

It’s been amazing to witness how video has become an integral part of storytelling onstage – a great example of this is how it's stunningly used in the National Theatre’s 'A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.'

What do you enjoy about your job?

I love working with people, so a massive standout for me is the opportunity to work with a wide variety of people and personalities. I really enjoy supporting people to develop and progress within their careers and I’m more than happy to share some of the mistakes I’ve made to enable others to avoid them. Not only that, but I’m dyslexic and have bipolar which can make things a bit lively on occasion!

Finally, what do you like doing out of work?

This one is pretty simple for me really. Seeing friends, going to the theatre and watching films takes up most of my spare time. I’m also a bit of a Radio 4 addict and a huge Archers fan!