Squaring the circle

I’d always wanted an excuse to use square focusing of theatre lanterns in a lighting design and Chess The Musical gave me a very good reason. All of the downstage specials were focused in a grid of two rows of five squares using 10 SL 15/32s from front of house. My hat is off to Martin Pretty of the Hexagon staff who did all of the hard work on Bridge 2 getting the SLs in place first time.

This kind of focus meant the cast had to be well forward (pretty much on the front edge) of the box to be lit and there was a distinct but tiny shadow at the edge if they moved sideways between boxes. So accuracy in hitting marks (and explaining them) was needed. But the effort was worth it with a lot of encouraging comments.

Chess The Musical 27-31 October

And so to rehearsals for Sainsburys Singers‘ performance of Chess The Musical at The Hexagon, Reading on 27-31 October. Having just got home from the first run-through I must say I am impressed by the quality of the singing of what is a very difficult score. Soloists are strong and the cast at full bore nearly took the roof off the rehearsal venue. Exciting!

Lionel Bart’s Blitz 5-9 May

My next show is looming large and to maintain a 2009 theme it is one that I have not seen or worked on before.

Lionel Bart is, in the eyes of many, a bit of a one-hit wonder and Oliver! appears to have as much appeal today as it ever did. It is often forgotten that the original London production of Blitz ran for nearly 600 performances and set some new benchmarks for musicals including massive staging (Broadway baulked at it) and the much more obvious use of lighting than was currently in vogue. The score was subsequently lost for many years but the show is now enjoying something of a mini-renaissance, at least with amateur companies.

La Belle Helene 3-7 March

I am currently scheduled to create the lighting design for four shows this year, all of which I have not worked on before, or even particularly know well, which should be an interesting challenge. They span everything from classical 19th Century opera to 1950s, 60s and 80s era musicals.

The first of them is Reading Operatic‘s production of Jacques Offenbach’s La Belle Hélène

Oklahoma okay

Just completed designing and running the lighting for Reading Operatic’s production of Oklahoma at the Hexagon in Reading. In one sense it all felt a bit strange, the first show by this company since Geoff Bamford passed away. So a … Read More

South Pacific in a hurry

Have just been asked to design the lighting for Sainsburys Singers performance of South Pacific at the Hexagon in Reading on 24-28 April and attended a run-through tonight. Notice was necessarily short because Geoff Bamford was originally lined up for … Read More

Geoff Bamford

Terrible news; an email arrived telling me that Geoff Bamford died yesterday of a heart attack. It was Geoff that got me involved in lighting again, ironically after suffering his first heart attack. I’d actually been asked to substitute for … Read More