The Amateur Stage Production

WAMED 2014 144

There may be a little flurry of anger at the phrase ” Amateur Stage Production “. It would seem to be a derogatory term to some, but I hasten to explain.

I do not complain of the performances or artistic vision of the amateur play, concert, or dance. In may cases these can be the equal of professional practice. In some cases, like the performances of Mr. John Depp, amateur actors may well outstrip his skills.

What I am highlighting is the support the production gets from the technical department – specifically from the lighting designers. Too often amateur productions miss out badly with this aspect of their craft. here in Perth we often see…but then we often do not see…and trying to take pictures is even worse.

The science of stage lighting is an art – and like all arts it needs someone else’s money to be practised. Too frequently in the amateur world it is underfunded and underdone.Not the fault of the artists or the tech – it is just a tough thing to do on a portable basis. Stand lights from the local hardware store may be pressed into service as floods, and many cases fail to illuminate the stage well. Even if proper floods are used, they may be mis-matched  and leave holes in the stage.

Spots are rare, and follow spots with a lighting tech operating them so rare as be a thing of legend. Indeed, there is little provision for a lighting box or position in most venues – and in many cases they are starved of electrical outlets anyway.

It’s not too hard. If the venue can run to a stage, they can run to at least three fixed floods on a bar and in most cases this will do the job. Dimming is icing on the cake and if there are any other backlights, spots, or foots, it becomes a dream to work with.

One request from the photographic part of the audience – can the gels for most of the productions. Unless you desperately need a mid-night blue scene, leave them off. Reds and yellow look like they are going to make the stage scene exciting, but in most cases they just make it off-colour. The dancers for most middle eastern affairs carry enough colour in their costuming to jazz up the stage. Just white it up to a decent level and they’ll do the rest.


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