Light in Performance

Coordinator: John Ford

Light is an essential ingredient in any performance – light reveals and conceals action on stage, supporting visual storytelling and directing attention.

This subject examines how, through the use of colour, texture, rhythm and intensity, light can be used as a dramaturgical tool in the development of a performance. We also explores the close relationship lighting has with the other design disciplines in performance.

Students are offered the opportunity to experiment with light and its parameters in small scale, investigating the narrative possibilities of intensity, angle and colour. Exposure to a variety of dramatic forms throughout the semester allows the analysis of light as used by other designers, investigating how they work with light to support storytelling. A key aspect of the subject is the investigation of visual communication of lighting ideas and inspirations, exploring ways to discuss and elaborate on visual ideas in a collaborative environment.

In their first project- from which images have been selected for MSDx- students were asked to explore the core concepts of void, volume and spectrum, manipulating the intensity, angle and colour of light, in the confines of a small model box, as an initial investigation of the impact of light on space and narrative.

Following the initial project in the subject, students engaged with an analysis of lighting in various performances, looking at how other designers use light to support storytelling.  They were then given the opportunity to put these elements together in response to a text or source material, developing lighting ideas to support the creation of narrative on stage.

FINA 20043 – Light in Performance. Image credit: Project One Light in Performance by Nicola Hayton

Performance Design 2020_winter