Vari-Lite VL5LED WASH brings rich retro styling to Mountview’s production of Carrie: The Musical

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Vari-Lite VL5LED WASH brings rich retro styling to Mountview’s production of Carrie: The Musical

Vari-Lite VL5LED WASH brings rich retro styling to Mountview's production of Carrie: The Musical

UK – When Mountview Academy of Theater Arts decided to bring a bold new actor-musician take on the Royal Shakespeare Company’s musical adaptation of Stephen King’s classic Carrie, it was the former head of training at Mountview lighting, Louisa Smurthwaite, who worked with the students to create the visceral, yet retro lighting design. Keen to introduce fixtures that brought a period feel to classic history, while introducing students to the latest lighting technology, Smurthwaite specified the VL5LED WASH fixtures from Vari-Lite, the originators of modern moving head and Signify entertainment lighting. Mark.

With a lighting design brief from show director Rich Fitch that specified “Stranger Things meets 80s horror game show”, the stage design, created by Sophia Pardon, was school torn apart, ravaged by the powers of Carrie. “The set design exposed the wings and the back wall of the room,” Smurthwaite explains. “Along with the lighting, it gave a deeper perspective to the play space and allowed us to manipulate the atmosphere. What I love about the Vari-Lite VL5LED WASH is the impact of the LED function around the edge of the lens and the classic aesthetic of 1980s fixtures. It’s bold, it says “I’m here”, which isn’t the usual approach for a theatrical production.

Carrie: The Musical, with its horror moments, demanded many contrasting atmospheric looks. This meant that Smurthwaite needed a lush creative palette that offered bright colors, soft pastels and good whites. “The VL5 combines the high output I needed with a color palette that met my design goals for each scene,” says Smurthwaite.

Of course, the scope of a lighting designer is much wider when you’re designing at a theater school that offers a dedicated lighting degree and master’s degree. Smurthwaite’s role encompassed much more than the obvious duties of an LD, such as delivering the design concept, producing plot synopses and landmarks, programming, and the entire technical process through to completion. opening night. “My role was to engage with students in a way that encourages critical thinking about the process and self-examination and reflection on creative drivers and motives,” she explains. “I took the time to discuss the design, not just with the lighting students, but with the stage manager, the performing arts students, and the directing students. All gave valuable feedback that impacted the design. We agreed that we wanted the lighting to have a retro feel, but without compromising the effects, atmospheres and dramatic impact that modern lighting can bring.

To achieve this goal, Smurthwaite maintains good relationships with lighting technologists and manufacturers. “While Mountview has a large stock of technical equipment, as productions continue to raise the bar in terms of production and design, there is always technology that students want to use that is not on tablets,” she says.

Smurthwaite was introduced at VL5LED WASH by Grant Bales Smith, Regional Sales Manager, EMEA and APAC, Vari-Lite for Signify, and Darren Howard, Technical Support for Signify. “I was struck by the VL5’s obvious nod to ’80s design, which made me notice that this was an eye-catching fixture for Carrie: The Musical,” says Smurthwaite. “It is essential for me that students get used to the new luminaires that will eventually be popular in the professional world. The VL5 fits that bill. Students must be able to confidently explore and embrace new technologies, which is not always possible with theater school performance budgets. That means the support from companies like Vari-Lite and other entertainment technology makers is invaluable.

Grant Bales Smith concludes: “Vari-Lite has built a strong reputation for supporting lighting designers and educational institutions by lending them our latest technologies. We appreciate how important it is for future designers to gain real-world experience using our products and gain a clear understanding of the latest technologies. For this reason, we were thrilled to see Louisa and her students create such a stunning lighting design for their production of Carrie: The Musical by incorporating VL5LED WASH fixtures.

Vari-Lite VL5LED WASH brings rich retro styling to Mountview's production of Carrie: The MusicalVari-Lite VL5LED WASH brings rich retro styling to Mountview's production of Carrie: The Musical

July 26, 2022

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