Wednesday, 20 September 2006


Every year, the 2nd week of August sees two or three hundred amateur drama types heading up to Loughborough University for the annual NODA Summer School.

This year was the 4th time I've been. In previous years I've studied Acting Skills and a directing course (Page To Stage with Ruth Bettesworth) that was enjoyable enough to repeat last year.

This year though I decided to do something different: Theatre Lighting. I'm not much of a "techie" and I certainly quail at having to climb up to the gantry. I usually get half-way up the ladder and then panic and have to be lowered down with ropes and pullies.

The course was most enjoyable. I managed to learn enough that next time I direct a play I'll hopefully be able to make suggestions about the lighting and will be able to understand why some things are impossible (or not!).

The pictures below show one of the 'cameos' that our group put together. We had to devise and light a short scene which used lighting to show a sense of place and the passing of time.

A window pattern on the floor is often achieved using a 'gobo'. This is a metal cutout or template which is placed near the lens of a focusable theatre lantern to achieve a special effect: a window, light dappled through trees, etc. However, in our cameos shown here we decided to use the window built into the scenery like a gobo and simply rigged lights to shine through using different angles and different colours to give the impression of a changing time of day.

Attending the NODA summer school is also a great chance to see old friends from previous years and catch up with what they've been doing since the previous August - usually over a very reasonably proced drink in the student union bar!

Roll-on next year - learning technical skills is all well and good, but I think I missed the performance-related stuff too much.

Why is the title of this piece "hezbollah!"? When you're hanging a light you shout "Heads Below!" to warn anyone standing on the stage. When 2 or 3 of the people on the course come from the north-east, it sounds like "Hezbollah!".


Allen said...

Very cool, PT. Question about the photos: does shining a light through the window cause the pattern on the floor or are you projecting the pattern from another source through a "window template" of some kind? (Sorry if that's not clear... I don't know the proper showbiz terms.)

PT said...

Good question - and a very perceptive one.

Answer in the updated post above!