Put out the light?

Award-winning lighting designer, Jack Coleman, gives us a quick look at his take on the new EU Legislation that will soon have a major impact on theatre in the UK.

I am sat writing this after a long tech day and in a spare five minutes.

I wouldn't swap my job for the world. Having spent three years of training to turn lights on and off in an artistic way (well that's what my parents think I do), I've become very worried about the new EU legislation on lamps. Essentially, this legislation would ban almost every theatre light in production. This is not just the tungsten lamps which have been the staple for lighting designers for years but every LED fixture currently on the market.

This could possibly amount to the biggest overhaul in lighting design in its history. There is nothing to replace the existing fixtures so theatres would literally be going dark.

Now, I understand that there is a great need to cut power usage and go green but I don't believe this is the right route to take. From a purely environmental point of view, there is a huge cost in any new LED technology as the various parts will need shipping from across the world so it’s not quite the environmental cost-cutting exercise it makes itself out to be. On top of this, the move from tungsten to completely LED would drastically increase every theatre's heating costs. This may contradict what you might think, but tungsten lamps provide a hell of a lot of heat that we'd otherwise need to generate through heating systems, not to mention that as a designer, we need tungsten lamps in theatre to create feeling and emotion, something that sometimes LED lamps simply cannot do.

Us lighting designers aren't stuck in our ways but we are fighting to save the beautiful artistry that tungsten lamps provide unparalleled. LED fixtures have come a long way, but they're still a way off being considered as the best option. At the moment we can use both in harmony. Until LED lamps can create the mood and emotion needed, we still need tungsten.

Blog posts, interviews and commentary by individuals do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Worcester Repertory Company.

Jack Coleman

Jack Coleman trained at Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA) and is currently a technical assistant with Worcester Live and Lighting Designer with the Worcester Repertory Company. In 2017 he was awarded the Michael Northern Bursary by the Association of Lighting Designers.

You can follow Jack on Twitter @ColemanLighting

You can find more information about Jack and his work at www.jcolemanlighting.co.uk

For more information regarding the story surrounding this post you can visit the following articles and letters.

The Stage - EU rule could leave theatres dark

The Stage - Theatres face shock £180m bill under EU lighting proposals

The Guardian - Letter from Richard Pilbrow (President of the ALD)

#JackColeman #AssociationofLightingDesigners #EU #EuropeanUnion #Legislation


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