35 Awesome Theatre Lighting Design Resources

A page of annotated theatre lighting design resources including links to designer websites with images of creative work, instructional websites on effective theatre lighting design, examples of lighting plots and plans, lighting design videos for students, lighting theory for beginners and advanced users, plus the role and duties of the stage lighting designer. – Justin Cash


Stage Lighting Design Resources

A detailed list of duties for the lighting designer and assistant lighting designer in live theatre productions.

A gem of a resource with just about everything you ever needed to know. Includes an introduction to stage lighting, general design methods, applied design methods, lighting procedure, stage lighting fixtures, stage lighting mechanics, and lighting design education. Note: this does not include recent LED fixtures.

A useful overview of the duties of a theatre lighting designer and the necessary qualifications for this type of work.

A curated collection of a dozen popular podcasts for students of theatre and budding designers to listen to.

Overview of the design process for the theatre including script reading, rehearsals, creating a cue list, drawing the lighting plan, hanging the rig according to the plan, lighting plot, focusing,  technical rehearsals and lighting colour.

Image portfolio of Chicago-based designer. Useful for students.

Collection of industry-leading show design CAD and visualisation software, including Capture, Cast WYSIWYG, Vectorworks, and more. Includes links to product websites and training videos. Great for theatre students interested in a career in theatrical lighting.

Series of production images from a UK-based theatre designer. Useful for students.

Series of interviews with professional lighting designers about their work on various productions at the Melbourne Theatre Company.

A good outline of the lighting designer role in the theatre from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London. Includes responsibilities, technology, necessary qaulities and skills, programming, and career opportunities.

Lighting Design

Basic guide to stage lighting design. Great for the beginner.

Production cue sheet template – student resource.

Functions of Stage Lighting

  • Providing visibility
  • Assisting in creating the mood
  • Helping to establish the time and place
  • Helping to establish the time and place
  • Providing a focus on stage and creating visual compositions
  • Establishing a rhythm of visual movement
  • Reinforcing a central visual image (Edwin Wilson, The Theatre Experience.)

Example lighting plans from Sydney’s Belvoir St Theatre – upstairs theatre plan and downstairs theatre plan.

Portfolio from a US-based designer. Great lighting examples for students.

Series of articles and interviews from the American Theatre website. Valuable resources for students.

Comprehensive theory guide for students including the functions of stage lighting, qualities of light, and more.

Plan and patch sheet examples for students to see.

Series of educational articles and videos, including what consoles to use, planning a stage wash, theatre lighting basics, and how to create your first lighting plot.

Excellent teacher and student guide for understanding and designing lighting.

Stage Lighting

Fantastic website, LightingTrainer.com, with loads of resources from across the web including basics, colour, design, console programming, stage, truss and rigging, and DMX.

A comprehensive historical timeline of light from 4.5 Billion BC to the late 1990s. This is an excellent timeline for tricky research into specifics like the introduction of gas and electric light in England and America, the story behind the Fresnel, the discovery of ultraviolet light, and who was the man behind the McCandless method of stage lighting.

Great production images from a Sydney-based designer.

A curated collection of educational videos on various aspects of stage lighting.

Just in case you never thought of it, here are thousands of theatre lighting design images from Google and Bing. Awesome for students of theatre to browse through and discuss.

Excellent BBC Bitesize student guide to theatre lighting design.

Wikipedia entries on stage lighting and the role of the theatre lighting designer.


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