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Palgrave Macmillan


ISBN 9780230551893
Publication Date September 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (PDF) Paperback 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series Readings in Theatre Practice

How has light influenced the staging of theatre throughout history?

What does light contribute to performance?

How does it make meaning?

This collection explores the creative potential of light in the theatre. Through a wide range of extracts from historical accounts, new research and rare documents, some presented for the first time in English, Scott Palmer provides new ways of thinking about lighting as a creative performance practice.

Focusing on elements such as:

• the emergence of lighting design in the theatre
• equipment and techniques
• the dramaturgy of light
• its impact on actor, audience and playhouse
• the semiotics and phenomenology of light in performance,

the book reveals why light has such a profound effect on the audience's experience of a theatrical event.

SCOTT PALMER is a Lecturer in Scenography and Deputy Head of the School of Performance & Cultural Industries at the University of Leeds, UK. His research interests focus on scenography, lighting design and the interaction between technology and performance. This has included experimental work with projected light and the creation of immersive performance experiences. His recent research practice includes the AHRC-funded project Projecting Performance and Emergent Objects – part of the AHRC/EPSRC funded Designing for the 21st Century initiative. He is an executive member of the Association of Lighting Designers.

Introduction – Light and Performance
The Evolution of Lighting Design
Light as Spectacle
Light, the Playhouse and the Scene
Light and the Audience
Light and Space
The Dramaturgy of Light
Light and the Body
Light as Material
Gas and Electricity – New Tools and Techniques
Techniques and Tools
The Lighting Operator
The Lighting Designer
A Lighting Chronology


'Light…offers a dedicated work that seeks to collate ideas and knowledge and present them together in order to provide a base textbook on the relationship between lighting and theatre so far. While craft still underpins much of the activity in lighting, Palmer's book takes care to avoid being another stage lighting manual and presents the research and history un-technically. To see light in performance as more than a series of problems with technical solutions and to remove the grubbiness of ladders and cables etc. gives the reader a chance to consider the more intellectual side of our favourite subject.' - On Stage Lighting
'A well-researched, well written, scholarly and important work - Scott Palmer should be congratulated for compiling and writing the kind of book that students and theatre academics have needed for many years. It is quite an impressive and significant achievement and I can't praise it highly enough.' - Paul Jones, Senior Lecturer in Theatre Production, Staffordshire University, UK
'An amazing collection of excerpts from historical writings and rare documents […] A must read for those interested in this aspect of theatre production.' - Choice
'A highly readable treatise on the nature of light in relation to performance – part historiography, part handbook, part discussion of professional practice, part philosophical examination of the place of lighting in modern performance [...] Palmer writes knowledgeably and skillfully about a subject about which he clearly cares passionately. His book is a welcome addition to the discussion on the place of lighting in performance in the twenty-first century.' - Jack Robson, Studies in Theatre and Performance
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