Lighting the State Drama Festival

Posted on Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

The 2017 NSW Public Schools State Drama Festival celebrates classroom drama achievements of students in Years K-12. This event is a two day celebration of Drama works showcasing strong Drama outcomes in classrooms from across the state. Over 600 students participate in a range of dramatic styles. The auditions are held throughout the state as part of Area Drama Festivals and a selection of items from these Festivals are chosen to perform.

Lighting designer Christopher Snape was asked to come up with a design that would be flexible enough to cover around thirty widely varied drama items; all of which he would not see until the rehearsal days.

“The biggest challenge I find is creating something unique and special for each and every item,” said Christopher. “Some of these items are extremely abstract and very challenging to come up with the initial concept especially at the end of an 8hr plot session. So at the end of the day, I like to think that I have given each and every item a unique and visually creative design which doesn’t take away but compliments and adds to their performance.”

With his lighting designs, Christopher likes to challenge and push to the limits not only himself but also the capabilities of the venue.

“Lets just say I do enjoy being the first person to try something new that has never been done before in a venue. I don’t ever just copy and paste my plans, but push myself to create something new, different and visually breathtaking. I have lit this particular festival now for a number of years and there has not been one design the same. This year I decided to do something I have not done before and that was cut back on movers and add more generics and use these in their amazing colour of tungsten…open white!. I was very happy with the end result.”

This years rig consisted of 8 x Martin MAC101s and 80 x LED Pars. Christopher also used 30 x generic profiles for gobo washes, 42 x 1.2k Fresnels as various beam and wash cover as well as UV tubes. Also utilised were 12 x LED cyc units plus another twenty or so generic fixtures for general wash, FOH and footlights. All programmed on the in-house ETC EOS console.

“When I light these shows its hard to put a finger on one favourite moment,” added Christopher. “I define moments for me when I get goosebumps up and down my arms as I watch. There was one item that stood out for me that just flowed so smoothly and the end result was stunning. It was around a 10minute piece with only about 12 lighting cues, but each cue was 20-60 secs long with varying subtle changes throughout. This was actually the last item plotted for the week and was just perfect to end on. The photos are from this item.”

Console setup: Eddie Welsh
Programmer: Lachlan Hogan
Head Lx: Edward Wheeler
Equipment Supplier: Chameleon Touring Systems