What year did you participate in Resolution and how did you come to be in it?
I worked at The Place theatre around 1993 to 1995, as a technician and then Chief Electrician. It was my first job straight out of a one year specialism in Lightign design at Central School of Speech and Drama and a 3 year degree in Dance and Drama at Roehampton Institute ( Surrey University ).
I encountered the Resolution season for the first time in 1993 and lit a lot of pieces during my time working there and beyond. Some choreographers would come with Lighting designers and some wouldn’t, in which case the technicians and chief electrician did the lighting and had to quickly, in the 3 hours of allocated tech time, understand the piece, what the choreographer wanted, and come up with a design and execute it, as well as rehearse and get the piece ready to show that night.
If you were not a choreographer presenting, what role did you play at Resolution? How did you come to take part?
As well as lighting pieces on the day, I was invited by some choreographers to work with them in advance and prepare a more integrated lighting design. I worked with choreographers from my university, people like Sasha Lee ( former artist director Retina and The Point Eastleigh ) and Maxine Doyle ( punch drunk ). However, I met other choreographer through my work at The Place and lit for their Resolution shows too, such as Jane Mason, Jonathan Lunn, Martin Laurence, Charles Linehan, Jamie Watton. The most important connection I made was when Wayne McGregor created a piece for Resolution and although I didn’t light his piece then, within a year of seeing his work and meeting him we had begun to work together.
Looking back, what do you remember about the experience? What did you take away?
I remember how exciting it was that a choreographer would arrive with a rehearsed piece at the start of their 3 hours, and by the end of their time on stage, we, the dancers, musicians, technical teams, design teams and choreographer would have created a live performance ready to be seen by the audiences that night. There was a lot of pressure, but immense amounts of creativity. I remember working extremely hard, and after getting one piece ready in three hours, if you were tired, you had to gather your energy and give the next choreographer as much attention and creativity and hard work as you did the one before, and repeat that again for the third choreographer that day. I also remember some hilarious failures, and some amazing successes. It was a great deal of fun.
What happened next? Where are you now in your career?
My experiences at Resolutions has sustained me throughout my career. I developed relationships with many choreographers with whom I still work, and in fact only recently one of them who I have not worked with for 25 years has just got back in touch to see if I would work with them again. Of course Wayne Mcgregor and I still collaborate together to this day and I have designed the lighting for over 130 dance/ ballet productions with him.
The experience of designing under pressure and responding instinctively to choreography and ideas was the most important training of my career, above and beyond what I leant at University and drama school.
What would you wish all the young makers/dancers/writers/designers for the future?
I often wish I could design again at The Place, and over the years I have considered applying to make a light led dance work, in Resolutions. Maybe one day I will. I hope that this amazing season at the wonderful Place Theatre continues for a long time to come, I know of nothing like it in other theatre mediums and it’s a fantastic hotbed for emerging talent.