The Art of Lighting

1st published in Encore

Often people think that the art of lighting is just to hang a few pretty lights, point them at the stage evenly and you are done. But is that really all there is? There is a school of thought that lighting should be nice and even; no shadows and you can see everybody on the stage evenly. This to my mind is rather bland. Lighting is a creative element of the production and therefore should be treated as an equal with set design etc. The aim of lighting to supplement the action that is happening on stage. It can be used to enhance the mood, heighten tension. The art of good lighting is the use of shadows. In real life shadows are there. So why not use them on stage. Or have light come from a different direction. Lighting is not covering the stage in pretty washes and then changing colour for each scene of song. It is there to heighten the audience perception of the action on the stage. So lighting needs to take the show to the next level. Also stage lighting should not overpower the show. This can often happen when designers use moving lights. How often do the lights move for no apparent reason, or swing out into the audience? The audience are part of the action in a stage production so why light them. As a lighting design there is a lot to think about, but look to nature for inspiration.

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