Temporary lighting in a small space


Active Member
I'm TD'ing a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream at BU. My theatre group, being one of the smaller and less well-endowed groups, is forced to perform in what is essentially a lecture hall. It is equipped with a small stage (20' across the back, 14 deep, rising a mere 1.5').

There is a permanent batten installed in the ceiling of the room, but we are not allowed to use it, so forget about it. Thus, any fixtures have to be mounted on portable stands (beefy babies, booms or what have you). In the past we have always used the "Standard theater package" rented from High Ouput in the Boston area. It includes 3 ETC Source Fours, and 8 ETC Parnels, three 4 channel dimmer packs (2.4 kw), and the necessary cables, connectors etc.

I used this package for the last show I did with them and found it very difficult to work with, especially since they only provided us with three stands (even though I asked for 4).

So, the design I am thinking of, at the moment, is having the 3 lekos w/ 19 degree lenses in the backl of the house with the board (as far from the stage as possible, though really not that far) focused SL, C and SR. i realize that means nothing to you since you don't know what the room is like but whatever. Anyway, I want to replace 4 of the parnels with 4 baby zooms. I would place these along side of the house, to provide some front fill/sideish lighting. The 4 remaining Parnels would be put 2 to a stand upstage (visible to the audience, alas), to try and get some back lighting, and maybe eliminate the massive shadows of the front lights.

Oh yeah, 2 more things. The "stage" is highly polished hardwood flooring, so tons of light is reflected up. also, since there are classes in our space by day we have to strike everything every night after rehearsal. (i think I added that last bit mostly for sympathy)



Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
Perhaps it's time to build a scale model of the stage and do a lighting lab. Stuff like mini Mag Light flash lights to simulate the Lekos, and some mini bulbs or less focusing ones in housings to act as the Parnel. See how your design will look on a three dimensional object. Also study the lighting design books for what photos they show of the effects of lighting from various angles on a surface - especially a face. Than see where you are at with the design. Not saying ya or na, just a way to test and look at what you are thinking before you order the parts to it.


Active Member

thanks a lot for the idea. I knew I had been saving all those empty cardboard boxes in my room for something! haha.


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