Meet Our Member of the Week: Brad Berridge

June 7, 2024

Brad Berridge is an American sound artist and designer. His theatrical sound designs and original compositions have been heard in theaters across the United States. His work as the Creative Director for the sound art collective, Push The Button, has been heard across the U.S. and Eastern Europe. Brad is a member of USA 829 (Theatrical Designers Union), The TSDCA (Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association), and a former Associate Artist for WAM Theatre. He currently serves on the advisory board for St. Petersburg College’s MIRA (Music Industry Recording Arts) program. Brad was named on the 2020 BizBash 500 Must Know Event Pros and the 2019 BizBash Most Influential Event Professionals in Entertainment and Music. He was formerly the Director of Sound Operations for Feld Entertainment, overseeing the sound for all of their productions (Disney on Ice, Marvel Universe Live, Trolls: The Experience, Sesame Street Live, Jurassic World Live, and Nickelodeon’s Slime City). Feld Entertainment productions play in 50 countries to 30 million people every year. He recently took on a new position as US Market Development Manager for Focusrite Group’s Audio Reproduction division.

Check out his interview below!


Tell us a bit about yourself! As live entertainment technicians, we always talk about our work. But who are you, outside of your work in live entertainment? 

I am married to Ashley (a project manager) and we have two children, Emma (age 17) and Charles (age 11). 

I love food! Trying new restaurants and recipes is a regular occurrence. I am also a guitar player and have started to expand my guitar collection to make sure I can make every sound possible with the instruments. I need just one more! (As every guitar player always does!)


What sparked your interest in sound design? 

A very early connection to cause and effect. My Dad was a musician and at an early age, I realized that his singing made the meters move on the sound console. Living in a musical household, it was bred into me that music and sound can have an effect on people. When I started college at the University of Southern Indiana, I learned that a Sound Designer was actually a thing, and pursuing it gave me great purpose. 


USITT emphasizes collaboration across different disciplines in theatre. How do you collaborate with other members of a production team, such as designers, actors, and directors, to achieve a cohesive production? 

In my freelance career, I arrived at a realization that every designer could be an assistant director that focuses on a specific area of storytelling for the show. Everyone is responsible for the execution of the same vision. Integrating all the designs is critical to success. The lighting has to match the color pallet of the costumes. The Scenic design has to account for locations that lighting and sound need to hang equipment. And the sound designer has to ensure that what the audience hears is cohesive with what the actors are doing. It is all one big team effort. 

When I was younger, I played football as an offensive player. For success, everyone on the team has to execute the play perfectly for the desired result. This correlates to theatre design teams directly. Everyone has their job and has to execute it in harmony with the other team members (director, designer, actors, etc) for success.  

Do you have a favorite project you’d like to tell us about?  

Currently, I am working hard to raise awareness around spatialized audio systems and object based mixing. I feel strongly that it is what audiences deserve and need for a better experience in many performances (theatre, concerts, installations).  The sound community as a whole is slowly coalescing around these ideas. I hope to be able to demonstrate and talk about these systems in a way that makes people excited to use them. 


Tell us about Push the Button, the Sound Arts Collective. What is “sound art”, and what do you do as the Creative Director?

Push The Button wants to break down the barrier between the audience and the performer. We look at the idea of being “performed to” and think about ways the audience can be more of an active part. As the Co-Creative Director (with Vincent Olivieri and Technical Director Davin Huston) we ideate what is possible and how an audience can have a meaningful experience being integral to moving a story forward. Of note: We all met at USITT and established the idea of what is now PTB at the annual conferences. 


During your time with Feld Entertainment, you worked on so many large-scale productions! What are some unique challenges you run into working at such a large scale?

Scale was a challenge when I started for certain. How can I go from designing a show in a 99-seat theatre with 4 speakers to an arena with 20,000 people and over one hundred speakers? After overcoming that feeling in your stomach that can only be described as vibrations of imposter syndrome, I applied the same techniques and principles I used in making that 99-seat show. You must tell the story! The equipment is just an instrument to accomplish that. When I focused on that (which I was already comfortable with), learning the ins and outs of large-scale systems was just another task to accomplish rather than an Everest that was impossible to scale. 


What do you consider the most rewarding aspect of being a sound designer? Conversely, what are some of the biggest challenges you face in this role?  

The most rewarding feeling is that collective feeling sitting in an audience and everyone vibing together. Leaning in at the same time, gasping together, or even singing along to the same song. 

Conversely, the biggest challenge I have faced as a sound designer is subjectivity. What sounds great to one, may not to another. Finding a way to balance this, and educate the audiences on what they should expect from effective sound design has been a constant in my career. 


You’ve recently shifted careers and become the market development manager for The Audio Reproduction division of Focusrite Group US. What are you excited about in this new role? How can immersive sound change the face of live entertainment?

I am so excited for my new role. I really feel all the steps in my career have led to this. The brands I will focus on, Martin Audio and TiMax, are not as known in the theatre community in the US currently. I have been a user (and lover) of the gear for years now and am excited to share it with everyone. There are some amazing opportunities in our community with these brands.


USITT offers numerous resources and opportunities for professional development. Can you share how being a member has benefited your career and artistic growth? 

My career would not have happened without USITT. Beyond just expanding my professional network with a great group of friends and colleagues, I have made connections that have led to my last two positions. The education and discussions around different design ideas and points of views expanded my abilities as a professional. USITT has the been critical to my success. 


Are you working on any projects right now that you’re excited about?

I am very excited about developing new ways to demonstrate the capabilities of equipment and how it can be used in the theatre world. I am so new in my role (started June 1!), specific projects have not come together yet. Stay tuned!