Parents in Sound - Panel Discussion

  • 27 Jun 2022
  • 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
  • Zoom

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Parents in Sound : Panel Discussion

27th June 

12pm - 1.30pm

Presented on Zoom

Led by Carolyn Downing 

The Panel will include Zoe Milton, Ella Wahlström, Peter Rice, Lucy Williams and Rob Bettle.

This panel discussion is for all sound professionals in our community and will give us a friendly space to delve into the issues surrounding being a working parent in the industry. A chance for parents of all types, be it budding-parents, well-seasoned or those just starting out on their journey into family life to come together and share thoughts, struggles and strategies.


Carolyn Downing is an Olivier award-winning sound designer working in a variety of fields including exhibitions, fashion, theatre and live events. Creativity and collaboration is at the heart of her work from initial concept development with fellow designers through to realisation with technical and project delivery teams.

Carolyn’s most recent work includes Life Of Pi at the Wyndham’s Theatre in the West End, Jean Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure exhibition currently showing in NYC, The Normal Heart for NT and Henry V for Donmar & NT Live. She is currently collaborating on the Commonwealth Games 2022 Opening & Closing Ceremonies which will be performed in Birmingham this summer.

Carolyn lives in quiet spot of countryside in Northamptonshire with her partner and two children, Alice (11) and Albie (5). When she is not in her studio developing projects, she enjoys playing with the kids and exploring the lovely countryside on her doorstep.



Zoe Milton has been working in theatre sound since 1998, first depping on classics like Blood Brothers (Pheonix Theatre) and King And I (Palladium) and, at time of writing, most recently being Associate Sound Designer for 59 Productions’s Projection spectacular ‘About Us’.

From her beginnings in London's West End and the National Theatre, Zoe’s career had to adapt when she had her first child in 2007 (Lily is now 14) Long running shows with evening performances were not an option due to a lack of suitable childcare, so Zoe and her partner Ben committed to sharing childcare of Oscar and Lily and have balanced their family commitments, creative satisfaction and the requirement to keep a roof over everyone’s heads fairly successfully ever since.

Zoe now concentrates on short contract shows, currently this includes an Arts Council funded project Groomed to Perfection, an audio adaptation of a one woman show staged in Brighton before the pandemic and lots of TV shows, from Light Entertainment classics like 'The Void' and 'Apprentice: You’ve been Fired' to Glyndebourne and Grange Park Opera performances. Taking the skills she learnt across her career Zoe is privileged to be able to enjoy a varied career working with some tremendous people in a wide array of settings.


My name’s Lucy and I’ve been working within sound professionally for 12 years, making my move to London and the West End in 2012 with Singin’ in the Rain. My first big West End mix and with water on ever corner, a baptism of fire.

I now, since having my first child over 6 years ago, freelance more than I sit on productions, building and loading out, depping in and around London and the West End and learning a lot of shows as short term, emergency mix cover. Emergency, as you’ll all know is not a great cover to be when every job includes finding willing and affordable childcare.

I’ve somehow managed to find a niche for myself, after two seasons at the Globe, and a constant flow of work from the NT, as the one who likes to organise and run a backstage, and radio mics for big one night events and complex one off projects. I find the rush of these events thrilling and the organisation and prep so satisfying. The final little string to my freelancing bow is radio mics for film and TV, when live and pre-recorded broadcasts of productions are carried out.

All these walks of sound have, to a degree, allowed me to work in and around my partners job and the needs and demands of being the primary parent at home. It’s not been an easy balance to find. And we’re definitely still in the process of finding it!

My children are 6 and 2, both little boys and we have one more on the way, due in October. Life is crazy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!



Peter Rice is Course Leader for Theatre Sound at the Central School of Speech and Drama. Previously he has worked as a freelance Sound Designer and Engineer, and held posts in Sound Departments of the Young Vic, National Theatre, Royal Exchange Theatre and Almeida. Peter has 2 children, one who is 20 and one who is 4. As such managing family commitments has always run alongside Peter’s career.


Ella grew up in Finland, moved to London 2010 to train at Rose Bruford College. She’s got two kids: Kira, 5 and Oskar, 2. Recent work includes: Unfriend (Chichester), A Christmas Carol (Alexandra Palace), Rare Earth Mettle (Royal Court Theatre), The Lemon Table (Michael Grandage Company), I Think We Are Alone (Frantic Assembly, UK tour), Noises off (Garrick), Peter Pan Goes Wrong (Alexandra Palace, UK tour), Jellyfish (The National Theatre). She was the sound operator of the binaural shows ANNA at The National Theatre and Complicite’s The Encounter.


Rob is the co-director of Sound Quiet Time, he has provided Sound Design and Engineering for Musicals and Plays around the Globe. He trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School (BA in Technical Theatre). He started working in the industry in 2000 for a small theatre supplier in Oxford.

He has two children, Sarah aged 11 and Daniel Aged 8. The working hours involved with the industry means that the work life balance and spending enough time with his growing children often proves difficult and is something that Rob is passionate about making better for the industry.





Please note, the ASD reserves the right to make changes to the programme without prior notice. Such alterations may occasionally be necessary due to circumstances beyond our control.

All events will be filmed and photographed - your presence confirms your permission for the ASD to use any images or recordings of you in our publicity materials and seminar archive.

The ASD does not accept responsibility for anyone acting as a result of information or views expressed on its training courses including course material. Opinions expressed are those of individual trainers and not necessarily those of the ASD. Participants should take professional advice when dealing with specific situations.


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