I teach contemporary theatre design and production practice and am a published author and a practicing lighting designer, occasionally working in other areas of design for live performance.
I was brought up in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, where I went to the local Catholic comprehensive. From there I went to Imperial College in London to study physics, although mostly what I did there was make theatre. This included designing and directing some of the first productions to be taken to the Edinburgh Fringe by Imperial students. After graduating I began to make a career in lighting and technical theatre, mentored by some wonderful people including Jenny Cane and Howard Eaton. For twenty years I worked internationally as a lighting designer, lighting programmer and production engineer, on operas, concert tours, West End musicals, touring and fringe theatre, large-scale events, and festivals. I also worked as a Gaffer and then as Lighting Director for the BBC and MTV.
At the end of the last century, as my professional work took a more reflective and creative focus, I took a part-time MA in Modern Drama and Theatre Studies. Around this time, I worked with the Production Services Association to develop vocational courses for concert touring, theatre and events and worked as a visiting lecturer at Rose Bruford and the University of North London. From 2001 to 2003 I was Lighting Manager for English National Opera, where I reproduced world leading lighting and created some of my own. Then in the autumn of 2003 I came to Central.
I published my third book, The Right Light, with Palgrave Macmillan on October 2016. It is based on interviews with 19 award winning UK based lighting designers, and has been very well received – most recently at the Symposium, Performing Light at the University of Leeds, in January 2017.
In September 2018 the second edition of my first book, Performance Lighting Design, was published. This book was translated into Czech in 2011. My second book is Electric Shadows (an introduction to using video and projection on stage) was published in 2014.
Since 2010, I have taught master classes and given conference presentations on lighting and projecting in North America, (at USITT 2018 & 2019) Eastern Europe and Scandinavia (at Scandlight 2018). As the Education Rep on the board of the Association of Lighting Designers (ALD), I have also spoken and written about the education and training of lighting designers and technicians. Recordings of panel discussions I chaired at World Stage Design 2013, and at several PLASA Shows can be accessed via the ALD website, as can my interviews with international lighting designers Yaron Abulafia and Tupac Martir.
In October 2017 I again collaborated with intercultural theatre company Border Crossings, as lighting designer for Plays of Love and War. This was two plays, made in collaboration with Palestinian theatre company Ashtar, and presented as part of the Nour Festival in the Akram Village Theatre space, under the Westway near Ladbroke Grove. I’m also proud to be one of the 20 faces of Border Crossings.
I am a founding board member of the recently incorporated ALD. I sit on the board of Skill Scene – the technical theatre industry forum to for developing standards and qualifications. I am the co-convenor of the OISTAT Lighting Design Working Group.
2018 Performance Lighting Design – 2nd Edition. A text book to support undergraduate study in the theory and practice of lighting design for live performance. (London: A&C Black)
2016 The Right Light, a book based on interviews with 19 contemporary lighting designers (London: Palgrave).
2014 Electric Shadows, an introduction to using video and projection on stage (Cambridge: Entertainment Technology Press).
2014 'Svoboda’s Legacy', Journal of The Association of Lighting Designers, April/May pp. 14-17.
2013 'World Stage Design in Cardiff', Journal of The Association of Lighting Designers, October/November pp. 08-09.
2013 ‘After Graduation (how to begin a career in lighting)’, Journal of The Association of Lighting Designers, December 2012/January2013 pp. 12-14.
2012 ‘International Academic and LD (Yaron Abulafia at Central)', Journal of The Association of Lighting Designers, April/May pp. 12-13.
2012 'Jennifer Tipton at Central', Journal of The Association of Lighting Designers, February/March pp. 06-11.
2011 ‘Transformation and Revelation’, Journal of The Association of Lighting Designers, April/May pp. 20-22.
2010 'Lighting a devised intercultural performance', The Orientations Trilogy (London: Border Crossings), pp. 121-126.
2007 Performance Lighting Design (London: A&C Black). Published in translation, in Czech, in 2011
Examples of Professional Design work include:
2016 (Lighting Design) Plays of Love and War, for Border Crossings, as part of the Noor Festival
2013 (set & lighting) Tara Arts, Consumed, for Border Crossings, UK and Chinese tour
2010-11. Transformation and Revelation for the quadrennial national exhibition of stage design, in Cardiff: Four A1 Graphic Panels showcasing the work of members of the Association of Lighting Designers
2010. (lighting) Soho Theatre, Re-Orientations, For Border Crossings, London and tour including Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre
2002-3 (lighting) for English National Opera, Verdi’s The Masked Ball, London Coliseum, directed by Calixto Bieita
Association of Lighting Designers - Board Director (founding)
SkillScene - Board Director