Ibsen play gets low energy lighting

Tuesday, 6 May 2008
Ibsen play gets low energy lighting
UK - Arcola Theatre has demonstrated that there is no artistic compromise required to deliver low energy naturalistic lighting for classic works. Mehmet Ergen's critically acclaimed production of Ibsen's An Enemy of the People is lit on under 5kW.

The challenge was to light a naturalistic piece of theatre with a peak lighting load of just 5kW. For a previous show at Arcola Theatre The Living Unknown Soldier, LED and fluorescent sources were used to cut power consumption to this level, however the colours, dimming profiles, and quality of light given from the current generation of LEDs and fluorescents makes it difficult to use them in naturalistic pieces where the lighting should go unnoticed.

Lighting designer Michael Nabarro instead used a combination of lower-wattage and lower-voltage tungsten sources provided by Selecon, ETC and White Light to trim the overall power, without artistic compromise.

Lighting designer Michael Nabarro comments: "This show has been lit on significantly less power than it might otherwise have been using traditional equipment. The quality of the finished product has not suffered and the show is in no way "under lit", proof that it is possible to provide effective theatre lighting with a low energy budget."

Director Mehmet Ergen adds: "The environmental impact of all theatre productions can be reduced without artistic compromise through careful choices and creativity. I urge all directors to demand not more light and bigger set budgets but the right light and the right set."

The focus on sustainability for this production is part of Arcola Theatre's ongoing work to address the causes of climate change and environmental degradation through Arcola Energy, a multi-disciplinary project which "engages the creativity of the arts and sciences to find new and exciting solutions to environmental issues".

(Jim Evans)

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