The lighting operator of a play, concert or other kind of show is the person who actually operates the lighting desk during the performance. In smaller shows, it may be a single person fulfilling the jobs of the chief electrician, the lighting designer, and the lighting operator, but on larger shows these jobs may be taken by seperate people.

For the simplest of shows, the entire job of the lighting operator is to press the go button on the lighting desk when he is given the cue to. If the desk is slightly less advanced, then he may have to change a few settings between cues.

As the lighting for the show gets more complex, the lighting operator's job becomes more complex. Sometimes this only consists of having more cues in a certain time-frame, but often, due to the design of the desk, the lighting operator will have to activate different sections of the desk at different times.

Of course, these situations only apply if the cues have been carefully laid out beforehand. It is a whole different matter for something like a concert where you need to be able to control the lights as and when you want them. For this type of situation, a lighting desk with a lot of presets is normally used. Then, each song would have it's own set of presets, and the seperate presets would be controlled with flash buttons. This way, the lighting operator can make the changing of the lights go in time with the music, and isn't tied to a set sequence of lights.

If you're after any other theatre tech information, then do take a look at 'Everything you ever wanted to know about theatre tech, but were afraid to ask'