Ben has  taught  at The Wimbledon College of Art, Motley Theatre Design Course, Drama Centre and the Interact Theatre Training Ensemble as well as having held workshops for Aardman Animations, Theatro Synchrono in Athens, the National Student Drama Festival, and universities, art colleges, drama schools and schools throughout the UK.

Ben has  taught  at The Wimbledon College of Art, Motley Theatre Design Course, Drama Centre and the Interact Theatre Training Ensemble as well as having held workshops for Aardman Animations, Theatro Synchrono in Athens, the National Student Drama Festival, and universities, art colleges, drama schools and schools throughout the UK.

 

Lighting Design Workshops

 

1. Theories of Colour Perception    1 day

This is a short but full one-day talk on what colour is and how we perceive it. It covers Young/Helmholz; some of the ideas of Edwin Land; additive and subtractive mixing; pigments and how colour in light works with colour in materials; colour fatigue; how to read a colour swatch book; how two monochrome images can be combined to create a fully coloured image; why red and green make yellow and why blue and yellow do not make green.

Requirements: A room or studio with a good blackout; 3 profile lanterns on a stand; a selection of colour filters (to be specified); a white screen (not a projection screen; stretched white cotton or even paper is best); a flip chart; 3 large bowls of water; a kettle; ice.

 

 

2. Recreations of Paintings        Half a day-1 day        Max 16 students

Originally intended for students with little or no experience in lighting, this workshop works equally well with school groups, design students, actors and experienced LDs. Working in groups of no more than 4, the students are given reproductions of paintings which they analyse and then recreate, using whatever lights they have at their disposal. Members of the other groups then model the characters in the painting while the work is discussed in detail.

Requirements: A studio or theatre with a good blackout; a selection of fresnels, profiles, floods, parcans and stands; a lighting desk (preferably with faders) with a reasonable number of dimmers, cable and flexible overhead rigging positions; some form of access; basic furniture; flattage is an advantage, but not essential; some technical support. All to be discussed in advance.

 

 

3. Times of Day            One or two days    Max 16 students

Using lessons learnt from workshop 2, each group lights a simple set (can be a table and 3 chairs, has in one instance been a bar with an interior and exterior space) in a different time of day. We then work together in combining the different states created to investigate the movement of light across time. Covers progamming techniques, use of time, intensity, colour and localisation of light.

Requirements: similar requirements to the previous workshop, but a computer desk is essential.

 

 

4. Lighting Actors            One day

Pairs of actors provide simple, 2 minute, improvisations or scripted scenes which are worked on by groups of designers. Using personal memories and common references the designers discuss the scene with the actors and find a way of emotionally responding to the scene in terms of light. Although the exercise specifically avoids discussion of both visibility and beauty, and deals entirely with light as a metaphor, techniques of illuminating the actor are central to the workshop, as is the creation of an aesthetic that avoids the merely decorative.  Students should have attended at least workshop 2 if not workshops 2 and 3.

Requirements: similar requirements to the previous workshop, but a computer desk is preferable.

 

 

5. Skies                Two days

Following on from the day on theories of colour perception, this workshop is intended mainly for designers and/or LDs. Working in small groups of 2-4, each group finds three contrasting images of a sky (these can be as naturalistic or as abstract as the students like; one group I worked with chose an image of an O’Keefe flower as one of their skies). They then build a small backdrop, around 1.5m square, which must be capable of transforming into all three skies purely by using different angles, intensities and colours of light. Some painting skill may be required from at least one student in each group, but I have been amazed at the results created by technicians who claim to have put down their paintbrushes on leaving nursery school.

Requirements: similar requirements to the previous workshop, but a computer desk is preferable. In addition: a wooden frame 1.5m sq for each group; some means of suspending the frames in the space; scenic canvas; sheeting or filled gauze; BP screen; gauzes; paper; paints; dyes; various tools for painting, cutting and otherwise working the materials; some additional budget to enable students to make on the spot purchases of materials they would like to experiment with. If there is access to a design studio, all the better. Access to an art library and/or internet access.

 

 

If there is something that isn’t covered here I can either incorporate it into one of the workshops, or look to creating a new one; all of these workshops initially sprang from a particular need of a group of students.