Principle of Lighting Design

For my Lighting Design I have taken on the role of designer for Acting and Musical Theatre. For my first part of research, I’m going to look and show my research for lighting for acting and musical theatre which will consist of the correct procedure in which to light the stage and also the general principle of lighting these pieces.

The first activity that needs to be lit is always the visibility. One of the most important aspects of theatre lighting is to make the performance visible to the audience. This needs to be done in a way that will complement the performance/action. A designer will consider the intensity; lighting source; direction and colour of a performance to make the above possible. It is a major consideration for lighting a typical performance. If the designer fails to do this correctly, there will be issues in which the audience may endure such as fatigue, eye-strain, restlessness and lack of communication. These are factors that need to be taken into consideration, in whether the audience will become engrossed in the performance or not.

The next part of a lighting design is selective focus. This draws the audience’s eyes away from specific areas. This could be because of scene changes or performers coming onto the stage. The way in which this is done, is that a person’s instinct is to focus on the brightest point or when there is movement. This could be done with:

  • Increasing the Intensity
  • Adding colour or texture to the area
  • Having a followspot on a performer (mainly used in musical theatre or dance)
  • Optical Motion

The next stage is modelling of a performer of a piece of scenery. The intensity, movement and colour play a role in modelling but the most vital component is the positioning of the lighting source. This means that great thought has to go in the positioning of these lanterns.

The next aspect is the mood. This can have a major impact on the performance. This is done due to the angle of the lanterns, intensity and colour. The designer must try and portray the mood, but not obstruct any other elements.