The show premiered in December 2023 and ran for three weeks and will return in December 2024 (photo: Michael Cairns)
USA - As the cornerstone of its 50th Anniversary Season, the Orlando Ballet commissioned a spectacular new production of The Nutcracker, which debuted last December.
Billed as “bigger, brighter, and full of surprises” as well as the largest ballet ever created by an Orlando-based performing arts organisation, the production was staged in Steinmetz Hall at the Dr. Phillips Centre for Performing Arts. New choreography, all new sets, costumes, and an updated storyline by Jorden Morris, who also serves as the ballet’s artistic director, brought an exciting edge to a timeless classic, combined with a host of interesting and innovative staging elements including a lighting design by Joseph R. Walls.
Joseph incorporated Robe Forte moving lights and Footsie LED foot lights into his lighting scheme to bring extra vibrance and flair as the onstage action unfolded.
Joseph’s brief from Jorden was to create a fresh and invigorating contemporary look for the show as they presented an extravaganza of colour, drama, and emotion to thrill Orlando and mid-Florida ballet lovers now -and for some years to come, as it is scheduled to run for the next 19 years over the festive holiday period.
The 26 x Fortes and 26 x Footsie1s were part of an additional lighting rental package supplied to the Orlando Ballet by Main Light from Delaware and were used in conjunction with the substantial house generic lighting rig.
Additionally, six Anolis Calumma S multi-chip RGBA luminaires were purchased by the Ballet for this show and used for lighting within various scenic elements, proving ideal for offsetting the naturalistic interiors of scenes like the toy shop, pastry shop, and snow globe.
Joseph worked closely with Jorden and set designer Robert Perdziola to craft the show aesthetic. He consulted Main Light account executive Patrick Bellino who first suggested he look at Robe’s Forte as a solution, particularly as a good zoom and excellent dimming were top of the wish list. A demonstration followed which confirmed to Joseph that Forte was the “right fixture for the job.”
“I needed a high CRI, a good range of whites, to be able to change colours and gobos, as well as a light source that was essentially clean and soft,” he explained, which is where Partick mentioned that units could be fitted with a heavy frost filter.
Of the 26 x Fortes supplied by Main Light, eight were fitted with the heavy frost, and two of the standard Fortes were run as follow spots, linked to a RoboSpot system operated via two base stations.
Five Fortes were positioned on five of the overhead house bars (25 total) effectively replacing a whole ‘traditional’ top lighting system, while the rest were distributed on booms and additional ladders.
The 26 x Footsie1s in variable white were positioned along the front of the substantial stage in the standard footlights position.
Joseph appreciated the great teamwork and camaraderie of putting the show together. “It was a massive collaboration and hugely enjoyable,” he concluded. Also on his lighting design team were associate Matt Taylor and assistant lighting designer Abi Farnsworth, production LX Lizz Pittsely and head LX Mike Boyle, all working alongside the crew from IATSE 631.

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