Training highlights power of light

August, 2014

As you may already know, my lighting design career started in the theatre. From there I could see the importance of lighting to change people's moods and the opportunities it offered other sectors such as retail. Theatre will always be special to me. That's why I still enjoy lighting stage shows. But the other area I enjoy is training others in the "secrets" of theatrical lighting.

I was reminded of this last weekend when I held a two-day training workshop in Whakatane. Of the 15 attendees, some were school students while others were current lighting designers and directors who wanted to grow their skills in the theatre. I like to call it my Master Class, or how to take Black and White and turn it into colour. Day one was focused on theory and day two was about taking that theory and putting it into practice. We grouped into small teams and they designed their own lighting for a part of a real musical.

The real lesson in this is how to take an average lighting design and give it that X factor. Using lighting with patterns is one such example. These are known in the industry as gobos. The teams had to create a forest on stage with lighting only. No props. That may seem impossible, but you'd be amazed what you can do with light. It's about appealing to people's subliminal mind. It really does take lighting design to another level.

This highlights the power of light. It can be used to create the most amazing effects. It can also alter mood, if used correctly. This is why it's so important that lighting is used to create the right ambience, rather than just filling darkness.

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Lighting Council New Zealand
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