Production Lighting, BA

Duration: 3 years full-time, October start

UCAS code: Institution code: C35; Course code: W451

Award: Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Theatre Practice

Production Lighting students flash through the lighting rig during fit up for a Central production

About the course

Studying on the Production Lighting pathway of the BA (Hons) Theatre Practice course, you will:

  • Learn to specify and produce a range of lighting, power and video systems
  • Manage a crew and the procurement and installation of equipment from fit-up to de-rig
  • Work in role on productions and through industry placements
  • Position yourself at the forefront of the industry, by exploring the latest automated lighting, green technology, programming protocols, digital networking and communication, video projection and LED technology.

The course trains students in the practical and managerial skills of realising performance lighting systems, video and projection. You will benefit from Central’s industry-focused research culture, which ensures your developing skills and experience are at the cutting-edge of knowledge and industry practice in theatre, live events and concert touring.

Tailor your experience

As you progress through the course, there are opportunities to develop specialist skills in the areas of most interest to you as a developing practitioner, giving you the best possible preparation for employment upon graduation.

Practical-based tuition

Tuition is structured around practical projects in Central’s well-equipped studios, theatre and performance spaces, supported by taught sessions on, for example, computer-aided drafting, making electrical props and programming. You will also study video and projection systems, working on productions and on more experimental projects.

Beyond traditional theatre roles

Central offers opportunities, within the course and on placement in industry, to broaden your experience beyond the traditional theatre roles for production lighting practitioners. Past projects have included programming for music, conference and event lighting, site-specific work and architectural projection.

Course Detail

YEAR 1: Introduction to professional lighting practice

  • Through skills sessions and workshops in Central’s studio and theatre spaces, you will gain a solid foundation in health and safety management, safe working with electricity and working at height.
  • Collaborative exercises and longer projects further develop technical and management skills, in preparation for work in the role of Lighting Crew and/or Lighting Programmer in the summer term.

YEAR 2: Continuing to build practical and management skills

  • Through taught sessions and production experiences, including opportunities to work in role on Central’s public productions, you will rig and troubleshoot lighting and video systems, programme them, and manage fellow students through the production process.
  • You will also research areas of practice beyond conventional theatre, including events and festivals.
  • You will be mentored by tutors, technical support staff and visiting professionals, and have the opportunity to develop projects with fellow students.

YEAR 3: Focus on professional development

  • You will continue to research the industry sectors that interest you, and build on your experience through projects based at Central and / or individually negotiated placements.
  • Tutors and industry mentors help each student to develop a strategy for their entry into the world of work.
  • Personal networks are of great importance for this and students benefit from Central’s relationship with the industry, including numerous alumni and lighting practitioners working in the theatre, live event and concert touring / festival sectors.

Download BA (Hons) Theatre Practice Course Specification 2016-2017 (1.24 MB)

Entry Requirements and Admissions

Minimum Entry Requirements

3 A Levels at BBC, BTEC ND: DDM.

Offers may vary from this, depending upon expected grades and performance at interview. Exceptional applicants who do not meet this requirement but demonstrate appropriate potential at interview and via their portfolio may be accepted. This is particularly true for candidates who do not come straight from school or college.

Admission with Academic Credit

For information on alternative entry requirements see www.ucas.com.

Application Details

This programme is still accepting applications for 2017 entry, and you are likely to be offered an interview (although UCAS will mark your application as ‘late’).

See How to Apply section for Undergraduate courses.

We particularly encourage applications from groups currently under-represented in higher education, such as students with disabilities and members of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups. Find out more information on Central’s commitment to equality and diversity.

Interviews

All candidates invited to interview are asked to bring a portfolio, which should demonstrate their experience of stage lighting (no matter how small that might be) and their understanding of, and passion for, the industry they wish to train for. For more on preparing a portfolio for a lighting course, see the Association of Lighting Designers website - Training section, where the Course Leader Nick Moran has written some guidance.

International Interviews

Each year Central hosts a number of interviews outside of the UK, with a team of tutors from Central traveling to meet applicants. The international interviews are designed to replicate the London-based interview experience in every aspect (other than a tour of our site!). See our Event Finder for listings of upcoming interview locations and dates.

International Students

Visit the International Students section to view details of English language requirements for Central's courses.

What our students said

Ellie Thompson
Ellie Thompson graduated from BA Production Lighting in 2014

Graduated 2014, recent projects include Associate Video Designer for Reisende auf einem Bein, Deutsches Schauspielhaus, Hamburg and for Schatten, Schaubühne.

The course was a great way to form strong contacts for the future. Straight after leaving Central, I collaborated with Katie Mitchell on The Forbidden Zone at the Salzburg Festival, as Video Production Technician. I also worked as Video Supervisor for The Driver’s Seat with the National Theatre of Scotland and a co-production with Battersea Arts Centre, The Destroyed Room, with Vanishing Point on their Scottish Tour.

Industry Links & Placements

There are opportunities – within the course and on placement in industry – to broaden students’ experience outside the traditional theatre roles for production lighting practitioners.

Past projects have included:

  • Programming for music, conference and event lighting
  • Site-specific work
  • Architectural lighting.

Central’s lighting courses are generously supported by major industry partners, including White Light, HSL and PRG UK.

Central also has strong links with smaller companies, several of which were started by graduates, including Liteup Events, Cassius Creative and DBSL.

In addition, members of the Mesmer Collective (behind many large-scale video designs for theatre and opera productions) are regular visitors and placement hosts, as are 59 Productions and other high-profile video design companies.

A regular panel of industry experts helps final year students launch their professional careers. Many opportunities for lighting students come through the network of graduates already well-placed in theatre, concert touring and event industries.

The course has strong links with the Association of Lighting Designers (ALD) and local theatres, which helps students to network in the industry, and to find placements and job opportunities.

Recent Visiting Professionals

Leading Production Lighting Specialists

  • Mark Mumford
  • Craig Bennett
  • Martin Chisnall
  • Stuart Crane

Lighting Designers:

  • David W. Kidd
  • Ingi Bekk
  • Marc Callaghan
  • Nick Richings
  • Matt Daw
  • Simon Corder
  • Andy Purves.

Lighting Programmers

  • Lawrence Stromoski
  • Jim Beagley

Visiting graduates

  • Adam Povey (Production Electrician for Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, large-scale theatre tours and West End productions)
  • Jo Richardson (Co- Director of Full Production Services Ltd)
  • Chris Purnell (Touring Chief Lx of Rambert Dance Co)
  • Squib Swain (Lighting Designer for Bombay Bicycle Club, The Streets, Delphic)
  • Jamie Thompson (award-winning Lighting Designer for The Script and others)

Graduate Employment

Graduate employment and career pathways include:

Theatre

National Theatre London, Rambert Dance Company, Northern Ballet, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, English National Opera, Sadler’s Wells, The Place, Hampstead Theatre, Young Vic, Royal Court Theatre, Tricycle Theatre.

Events and Production Graduate Traineeships

PRG UK, White Light, working on events at the Royal Albert Hall, Roundhouse, Chelsea Football Club, The O2 Arena and venues throughout the UK and Europe.

Concert Touring and Festivals

Including Glastonbury Festival, Latitude Festival, V Festival, The Big Chill and touring with companies such as Cyan Lighting, Neg Earth, GLS Lighting and HSL worldwide.

Video and Projection

Including world tours with leading concert artists, as media server specialists on d3 and Hippotizer, and nominations for awards for concert lighting and video design.

Notable Graduates

Adam Bassett (2000) Partner, Company Director and Lighting Designer for Woodruffe Bassett Design. Was the Associate Lighting Designer for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics.

Marc Callaghan (2005) Joint Managing Director of Lite-Up Events and regular crew chief for concert tours and festival stages. www.liteup.co.uk

Cameron Banister (2008) Project Manager for PRG Europe working on large scale lighting and video rigs for concert touring and events worldwide.

Jo Richardson (2006) Director of Full Production Limited, a successful creative and technical services provider to the entertainment industry - http://www.fullproduction.co.uk/

Chris Purnell (2012) Touring chief for Rambert Dance.

Staff on the Course

View profiles of the academic staff who teach on this course. Click on each staff member to find out more about them.

Nick Moran, BSc, FHEA, MA

Senior Lecturer, Course Leader Production Lighting and Theatre Lighting Design

Current Students

View profiles of the Class of 2017 for this course. Click on each student to see their CV.

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