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The Importance and Functions of Theatre Lighting

The Importance and Functions of Theatre Lighting

Date posted: July 17, 2014 // Glass Special Glass

There has been a purpose for theatre lighting since the Roman and Grecian era, also known as stage lighting. Theatre lighting is an important but sometimes overlooked aspect of putting together a performing arts production. Unlike a well written novel, a theatre production is unable to depend on the viewer’s imagination. It relies on the actors, the stage, the props and the manipulation of lighting to bring the stage to life. Whether used in a modest community theatre, a school stage, an auditorium or in an opera house, theatre lighting is an important and well-respected part of any stage and theatre production. It offers a variety of specialised functions such as the following:

  • Visibility – this is the simplest and the primary function of theatre lighting. Whether you are sitting in the front row, in the centre or at the back, it offers the ability to make something stand out on stage, making sure that the audience can see.
  • Selective Focus – through the use of high and low changes in intensity, selective focus theatre lighting is the action of purposefully distracting the audience from one area of the stage and directing the audience’s attention to look in another area of the stage that the director wants you to see.
  • Mood – the function of mood can be the most difficult and at the same time, the easiest function to portray and maintain. Done through the use of colours, theatre lighting captures the mood and emotions of the scenes being performed. It helps to create the atmosphere and adds to drama, thus allowing the audience to connect with the play.
  • Motivation – lighting is strategically placed in front, above, behind, below and around the sides of the actors and stage, to create intentional or non-intentional shadows or highlights. It is also used to reveal a sense of location and time of day. As an example, the colour blue suggests night time, while orange and red suggests sunrise or sunset. 

Theatre lighting is a critical element of any stage production. It can take away from the performance, or it can add to the performance. What is important to remember is that theatre lighting systems vary from one production to another, and depend on the lighting equipment and the methods used to create the affects you are looking for. For more information on theatre lighting, partner with Labotec Industrial Technologies. As the leaders in analytical instruments, we supply Incandescent Lamps, Halogen Lamps, Short Arc Lamps, Flash Lamps and High Pressure Discharge Lamps. Contact us to talk about your theatre lighting needs.

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