RESEARCH SUMMARY DETAIL

Stage and Auditorium Lighting

Author's Title: Stage Lighting - A Guide to the Planning of Theatres and Public Building Auditoriums
Author(s) Name: Theatre Lighting Subcommittee of the IES Theatre, Television, and Film Lighting Committee
Year of Publication: 1995 & 1996
Search Related Keywords: Acoustics  Aesthetics  Auditorium  Building Materials, Finishes, and Systems  Drama Theater  Fixtures Selection, Specifications, and Performance  Installation  Lighting/Daylighting Design  Orientation, Wayfinding, and Spatial Movement  Preference/Attitude  Schematic Design  Sensory Responses 

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Design Issue
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This report outlined the requirements of stage lighting based on developments in architecture, lighting, mechanical, and acoustical technologies.
  • Many architects and engineers want more information about lighting in theatres and auditoriums.
  • An understanding of the components of a well-planned theatrical space is necessary to achieve a successful and useful theatre.
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Design Criteria
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Author Identified:
  • Specify architectural finishes that are dark and have a matte finish to minimize reflections.
  • Consider the impact of spill light and glare from lighting equipment and reflective surfaces on the audience.
  • Consider the audible hum some lights emit when designing lighting positions and acoustical treatments.
  • Provide enough luminaries to allow the production designer maximum flexibility.
  • Consider the difficulty of relamping when designing lighting positions.
  • Use double doors, dark vestibules, or tunnel entrances to prevent light spills into the theatre house caused by late arrivals.
  • Use lighting treatments in the lobby that influence traffic flow.
  • Use illumination from large, low-luminance sources, wall lighting, and accent lights on artwork and plants to create a calm environment in the theatre lobby, foyer, or entrance.
  • Install a system for communication among the control board operators, workmen, stage manager, and lighting designer.
  • Conceal support structures, such as catwalks and ladders, because their appearance may not be compatible with the design of the theatre.
  • Ensure that the lighting design enhances the architectural design (thrust stage, arena, open stage areas, etc.) and can be easily maintained.
  • Consider the lighting needs and desired lighting control of different users in the auditorium (backstage work, maintenance and cleaning, orchestra musicians, lectures onstage, etc.).
  • Listen to all parties (actors, technicians, owners, etc.) that use or are involved with the theatre to ensure the best design solution.

InformeDesign Identified:
  • Consult with an acoustician to ensure that the integrity of the lighting design does not compromise the acoustical goals of the space.
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Key Concepts
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  • Consultants (lighting, stage, machinery and rigging, and acoustics) can save the building owner a considerable amount of money and ensure a well-functioning building.
  • House lighting prepares the audience for the theatrical experience, can be used during performances, and must be able to be dimmed to complete blackout.
  • Stage lighting is used to control visibility, composition, movement, and atmosphere.
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Research Method
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  • This article presented findings from on a book (by the same name) published by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America.
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Limitations
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  • The author did not identify any limitations.
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Commentary
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Descriptions and diagrams of ceiling cove details, side lighting slots, stage lighting pipe, and different theatre lighting layouts were included in this article. Specific sources for recommendations were not provided. Consult the article for additional lighting recommendations and considerations. This article may be of interest to committees and organizations seeking funding or designing an auditorium or theatre.

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Adapted From
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Author(s): Theatre Lighting Subcommittee of the IES Theatre, Television, and Film Lighting Committee; N.J. Sonnenfeld, Chairman, Theatre Lighting Subcommittee, and D.C. Gilchrist, Chairman, IES Theatre, Television, and Film Lighting Subcommittee
Article Title: Stage Lighting - A Guide to the Planning of Theatres and Public Building Auditoriums
Publisher: Illuminating Engineering Society of North America
Publication: Journal of the Illuminating Engineering Society
Publication Type: Refereed Journal
Date of Publication: 1995 & 1996
ISSN: 0099-4480
Volume: 24 & 25
Pages: 214-223