The Nottingham New Theatre

Lighting Design

The role of the lighting designer (or LD) within the theatre is to work with the director, set designer, costume designer, and/or sound designer to create the lighting, atmosphere, and time of day for the production in response to the play. A demanding but highly rewarding role, it combines artistic and technical elements to create the look on stage. Shadowing opportunities and regular workshops are offered to allow anyone to learn the elements of good lighting design. The best way to develop your skills however is through involvement in shows.

What does lighting design entail?

Lighting designers typically get involved several weeks before the show will move into the theatre, they meet with the director to gauge what look they’re after and attend rehearsals to build an idea of what will happen with the lighting throughout the show. The lighting designer should then, in conjunction with the director, technical director and stage management, compile a list of cues in the script. Prior to the get-in the LD will then draw out a plan of where all the various lighting fixtures will be located, roughly which way they’ll point and what colour filter they’ll use. During the get-in the LD and the Technical Director (or TD) supervise the rigging of the fixtures according to this plan.

After the set has been built the LD runs the focusing session, where all the lights are individually adjusted to the LD’s specification. The LD can then – with the TD and director – plot the show, this is recording all the lighting changes onto the desk.

After this has all been done, the LD can finally sit back and watch their work. During the tech and dress rehearsals they take notes for cues to adjust before the first performance.


How to get involved?

Your committee contact for all technical matters is Zoe Smith, you can email her at to find out about training and to register your interest.

The best way to get involved with this role is at the beginning of the season, during the Season Launches, by having a chat with shows you’re interested in working on. Unfilled roles will be advertised to all technicians after this.