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the role of the LIGHTING designer

If you chose to serve on the LIGHTING DESIGN TEAM for this semester's Advanced Acting show, you are responsible for participating in design team meetings as well as growing as a designer during the rehearsal and performance process.


If serving on the Lighting Design Team, you are ALSO responsible for independently learning about the role of a lighting designer as outlined below. 


Please be sure you have your Process Journal to reflect on your process/journey.


(WEEKS 6-7)

Task (Formative Grade): Create your own Lighting Needs spreadsheet (by carefully reading the script).  Consider all the information shared above as you (re-)read the script.  Include on your spreadsheet (in order) the Act, Scene, and needs/mood/special effects of the scene.  (Note:  You can not focus and FINISH your design until you've spoken with the director and also have seen a complete run through so you know the areas of the stage where the action plays.)  Be sure to focus on the time of day, season, practical lights needed (lights that are part of the set), windows & doors through which light would need to be seen, etc.  Also consider the script's needs/mood/moments/characters/meaning when re-reading the script and making your Lighting Needs spreadsheet.  Lastly, speak with the director about whether or not there will be any blackouts in the show, as this affects your design as well. (When finished with your Lighting Needs spreadsheet, turn it in to KP for a grade.)

Task:  Discuss your Lighting Needs List with your Design team (if you have one).  As a team you will use everyone's list to compile one FINAL (Google sheets) Lighting list that you will "share" with each group member as you build and revise it.  See KP for a preferred template to use for this spreadsheet.  (Don't forget to "share" with KP, also!)  

Task: Schedule a time to meet with John Schmidt to learn more about lighting, fixtures, how to program/use the board, and how to use your design ideas to light the black box space for our show.  Be sure you're clear on what you'd like to accomplish (overall) with your design when you met with him.  (I'd assume you'd want to meet with him to learn mechanics first - fixtures & the board.  Then meet with him later to discuss your design and get help creating it.  Be sure you schedule these meetings AHEAD of time.)

Task:  As a lighting team, create a Deadline Calendar for your lighting design, hang, focus, programming, run-throughs, etc.




(WEEKS 8-16)

  • You must complete at least one reading/video, (or video series) per week and respond in your PROCESS JOURNAL.

  • You don't need to complete in order. You can pick/choose what is most interesting and/or useful to you each week.

  • You MUST watch/read each learning activity with a star (*).  You might want to START with those.



Watch these videos FIRST:

*Video "Series":  

Stage Lighting: The Design Process (5:33)

 The Lighting Design Process (10:23)

Journal Title:  Lighting Design Terms (

  1. Take notes on the process (what you do for each step) and terms (new terms and definitions) that you need to know for lighting design.  (answer this question for the FIRST video)

  2. Take detailed notes on the process of creating light design - especially as it relates to our task of lighting this semester's show in the black box.   

Video:  How Does Stage Lighting Work? (7:11)

Journal Title:  How Stage Lighting Works

  1. Describe useful lighting information you learned from watching this video.

*Video: Working in the Theatre: Lighting Design (23:06)

Journal Title:  Main role of a Lighting Designer

  1. What is the role of a lighting designer?  (stated right away in several ways - jot down all of them)

  2. What information does the lighting designer need to work through with the director in order to do her/his job well? (4:30-)

  3. What does a lighting designer do (5:17) when she reads the script?  What is the next step after reading the script?  With what is the lighting designer helping the director?

  4. What factors, throughout this video, must a lighting designer have to consider when creating a lighting design?

  5. What do you feel, after watching this video, are the TOP 3 skills that lighting designers need/use most?

  6. (21:00)  What has to "drive the technical choices"?  

  7. What did you learn or what were you inspired by during this video?

Video:  What I Do: Lighting Design with Alberto Segarra (7:16)

Journal Title:  Emotional Response of Lighting

1. What did you like and learn about this lighting designer's approach to designing lights for a show?  (He says a lot of insightful things and has interesting approaches - listen careful and to the whole video.)

*Video "Series":  

THEATRICAL LIGHTING | Building a Complete Stage Lighting Rig (6:23)

2 Ways You Need To Think When Designing a Lighting Rig (7:45)

Journal Title:  Planning a lighting rig

  1. Describe what you learned about direction, focus, and types of lighting (and the effects each creates).  Don't worry about the names of all the fixture - just focus on what types of looks directional light and color creates on the actor(s) on stage.

  2. Think about our show and the different types of looks needed in each scene.  Determine what types of key, fill, and backlight are needed in each scene according to our set design and staged action.  Take notes on your initial ideas.  This will inform the decisions of where to hang fixtures, and how many will be needed.

*Video: Lighting Design Feature: Lighting 101 (3:06)

Journal Title:  Hanging & Focusing light 

  1. Describe what you learned about hang and focus, and think through what you'll need to do in the black box to both hang and focus lights.  (What/who will you need?  What kind of time and supplies will you need? 

Video "Series": 

The Genius of Dear Evan Hansen's Lighting Design (3:13)

WICKED Lighting: Lighting Plot (3:27)

Behind the Epic, Tony-Nominated Beetlejuice Lighting Design (3:10)

Journal Title:  Subconscious meaning of lighting

  1. What inspires you about the lighting design and meaning of lighting in these videos?  (be specific)

  2. What new things did you learn about the technical aspects of lighting from these videos? (be specific)

Video:  Lighting 101: Direction of Light for Film (6:35) / Lighting 101: Quality of Light (7:24)

Journal Title:  Lighting Direction

 List the different directions/types of light and benefits/results of each.  (Although this video is for film, the same lighting principles still apply.)

Video: The Basics of Stage Lighting (10:16) AND Intro to Stage Lighting by John Schmidt

Journal Title:  Lighting Fixtures 

1.  List the different types of lighting fixtures and benefits/characteristics of each.  (Although you will mostly be using LED's in the Black Box, you should know the names and benefits of various types of theatre fixtures.  You will be getting more one-on-one instruction from John Schmidt if/when he is available.)

2. What is the "best" way to light an actor on stage?


(WEEKS 8-16)




Create a Design Board to visually display your learning/research/inspiration for the lighting design for our show .  This will become the springboard for how you both communicate and execute your ideas.  Read about this task below.

Task (Summative Grade - IB: Thinking Creatively): Create a lighting INSPIRATION BOARD for your design.  Since you may not know much about lighting yet, consider this task to be one in which you are "researching" others' lighting designs, and finding "looks" / "feels" / colors / directions of lighting design that inspire you for your own designs.  Collect these images to create a design board for both overall looks and also important moments in the show.  You will share this design board with John to communicate what you're going for with your own design.  Be sure to label each image, if applicable, with the Act/Scene/page or title of the "moment" from our show.

  • The goal of this task is to research and find information and inspiring images that will assist you in acquiring, designing, or creating realistic and visually interesting lighting for our production.  

  • Creativity thrives in community, so be sure to collaborate with others and your team along the way.

  • As you research, be sure to "collect" your research/inspiration in a location that you can easily access when it's time to create your team's Design Board.

  • Note:  You will be graded on your individual contributions to your team's Design Board OR you can create your own.


Designing and creating anything that's original requires planning.  How this planning "looks" is up to you, but you need to make sure that you make your designing/planning visible.  You will do this planning in your Process Journal, and it may include sketches and notes  about your designs, or photos of models that show your design in the planning phase.  This documentation process could also include a catalog of tutorial videos on how you learned to do an aspect of your role (such as videos on how to run our board, or other teaching videos outside of those listed above), interviews with experts, or documentation on mentoring you received in tool use or skill development in order to create your lighting design.  

Task (Formative Grade):  YOUR Process of Design

  • Track your process of design in your Process Journal, including any relevant research, images, sketches, pictures of prototypes, pictures of models, or further learning you did to create your design.  You must make your design process visible for this grade.  (See paragraph above.)

Task (SUMMATIVE Grade):  YOUR Completed Lighting Design (the lighting you create for the actual show)


(WEEKS 15-18)


Tech/Dress Deadline (Formative Grade):   Prior to Dress/Tech rehearsals, all lights must be hung, focused, and programmed (including audience lighting), and the lighting design should be complete.  It's preferable that a dry run (with the SM/ Director) has been completed PRIOR to the first tech rehearsal, in order to ensure that the tech rehearsal runs more smoothly and everyone's time is respected.


Video:  Behind the Scenes at Disney's Aladdin

Journal Entry:  Calltime​ / Pre-Show Checklist

1. In professional theatre, as shown in this video, what are the (specific) tasks performed by YOUR (assigned) role prior to a show?  

2.  What are some of the things that YOU could put on YOUR Pre-Show checklist to be sure our show runs smoothly?  (Think of ALL the things necessary from the time you enter the black box until the show starts, including things like "Where do I put my personal belongings?" or "Where should this prop be pre-set?" or "What's the best place for this quick change to happen?" Etc.  Don't forget to include "sign in" on your checklist.)

Task (Formative Grade):  You will create YOUR Pre-Show & Post-Show Checklist with ALL tasks (that pertain to lighting) to consider prior to the show.  This MUST be well-thought out and completed/hung up PRIOR to the FIRST dress/tech rehearsal.  Type and print your checklist (with your name in large font at the top) and tape it to the light board.  (Keep in mind that you will most likely need to add to this list from things you learn or are reminded of in dress/tech rehearsals.


EXPLORE MORE (optional):


(This list will be added to over time.  Let KP know if you find any helpful information that could be useful to future Advanced Acting students.)

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