On dance-techTV:Today:Nick Hunt | Designer:Performer Repositioning the role of the theatre lighting artist”


Brunel Performance Seminar Series

March 30, 4 pm GMT

The role of the person with creative responsibility for lighting in theatre performance has traditionally been conceptualised as ‘designer’ – someone who makes a prior imaginary act before the moment of performance, which is then replayed in performance through an essentially procedural, non-creative, process. I want to propose a partial reinvention of theatre lighting as an arts practice, emphasising the live operation or ‘performance’ of lighting, rather than its design prior to the performance event, and conflating the existing roles of the lighting designer and the lighting operator into the lighting artist. In this seminar, I trace the historical origins of the professional role of the lighting designer and how it is structured, and suggest some strategies for making the shift from designer to performer. As well as describing changes to rehearsal room practices to include lighting, I demonstrate a custom lighting control interface conceptually structured in terms of lighting affects and temporal dynamics,that provides a playable, expressive instrument for the performance of theatre lighting.

Nick graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering before deciding that theatre was more interesting than thermodynamics. After ten years as a professional lighting technician and designer, he started teaching at Rose Bruford College, where – some thirteen years later – he is currently Head of the School of Design, Management and Technical Arts. Nick’s principal research interest at present is the performative potential of light and the lighting artist as performer. Nick’s other research interests include digital scenography and digital performance, the history of theatre lighting, and the roles and status of the various personnel involved in performance-making.

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