ALD bestows fellowship on Peter Mumford
Tuesday, 3 March 2020
Lucy Carter with Peter Mumford
UK - Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Peter Mumford’s prestigious career, last December saw the ALD host an evening In Conversation with Peter Mumford where he was bestowed with a Fellowship of the Association, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the art of lighting design.
On presenting the award, Lucy Carter commented: “I’ve got a lot to thank Peter for, because 25 years ago when I was a dance and drama student, I didn’t even know about lights in performance and it was watching Peter’s designs for contemporary dance that I suddenly saw this new medium and is essentially why I’m a lighting designer now. I’m sure that Peter is still inspiring us all and inspiring a new generation as well.”
The event to reflect upon his career was held at the National Theatre on the night following his own press night as lighting designer for Three Sisters. Peter’s collaborator and programmer, Victoria Brennan, led an insightful conversation about his work in retrospect across the five decades. Peter’s initial caveat was, “While I don’t like being nostalgic, I think that since it is 50 years since I left the Central School of Art to begin working professionally there is no harm in being reflective.”
He notes: “When you begin you only look forward. Maybe two or three decades in you have to recognise you have a past. At first you reject this, it’s a bit like a mid-life crisis, but then you realise that through that early period of acceleration you have developed a style - a visual continuity however diverse that is not simply repetitive but one where each piece of work feeds and informs the next. A palette and a vocabulary have evolved that can enable you to continue being innovative ad infinitum.”
Peter spoke of all aspects of his award-winning career; from touring contemporary dance in his early days, through his work at Chapter Arts Theatre in Cardiff and how he made the transition into television director and producer before moving back into live performance across dance, opera drama and musicals as a director, set designer and video designer. He also continued to work with light and discussed shows on stage with Victoria, such as Bacchai for the National Theatre, ENO’s Madam Butterfly, West End drama The Ferryman and Broadway musical King Kong Alive for which he was also nominated for a Tony Award 2019.
Between 2011 and 2018 Peter also served as chair of the ALD. In that role he built upon the development of his predecessor Rick Fisher in establishing the organisation to be more active in the protection of ALD member rights by linking with like-minded associations such as the SBTD, ASD and SDUK.
He also created the Lumiere Scheme, which began in 2015 to give emerging designers an opportunity to learn first-hand from established practitioners. As he explained at the time: “It’s so hard for young, would-be designers to find a way into our profession and I believe that it’s a real duty of the ALD to help provide that pathway through this scheme.”
The rest of Peter’s In Conversation… event, where he chatted with Victoria Brennan at the National Theatre, can be downloaded as a two-part ALD podcast available at anchor.fm/ald.
(Jim Evans)

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