PLASA Media has today learned that the veteran lighting designer, Michael Northen MBE, died peacefully in the early hours of yesterday morning. Northen, who was Life President of the Association of Lighting Designers (ALD) and one of the best-known figures in lighting design, had been suffering from degenerative heart disease for some time. Credited with being the first professional Lighting Designer, he designed for over 300 productions during his long career, at venues including the Royal Opera House, the Royal Ballet, Glyndebourne Opera House and RSC Stratford. He was awarded the MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List this year in recognition of his services to theatre.
In an announcement today to members of the ALD, chairman Rick Fisher said: "Michael’s thoughts were always with the lighting world. It is entirely characteristic that he wished to celebrate his MBE by making two donations; one to Light Relief to aid people in the lighting industry who are in distress, and a special bursary to a young lighting designer who is currently training. We will all miss his support and interest in the ALD, of which he has been a founding member, Chairman, and President."
It is expected that Michael’s funeral will take place early next week in Tewkesbury Abbey.