DESIGN GUIDE: MUSIC AND DRAMA CENTERS
CHAPTER 3: ACCESSORY EQUIPMENT
apron or pit elevator extends into the house.
The effective use of this projected area re-
Deck lighting, washing the floor with color
quires overhead lighting from a position
from striplights overhead.
equivalent to stagehouse lighting. It will also
require adjustment of lighting from the house
Cyclorama lighting, coloring the backcloth
which is normally directed at the downstage
with striplights over it or along side.
Droplighting, coloring legs, borders and other
The usefulness of an apron in straight drama
drops with striplights.
is therefore questionable since it also alters
Specials, lighting specific pieces of scenery,
sightline considerations and defeats the pur-
such as sunlight through a window.
pose of a stagehouse; it is neither a Proscen-
ium Stage nor a Thrust Stage. The forestage
Each instrument employed during the perfor-
concept arises from multi-use considerations
mance must be fed power from dimmer circuits
where a music shell installation requires a can-
that allow one person to control relative bright-
opy for acoustics anyway (it can be motorized
ness from a central location. Each mounting po-
and retracted), or where occasional enlarge-
sition includes one or more circuits routed to a
ment of the stage by covering the pit is deemed
patch panel where they are selected or combined
valuable for specific uses. The canopy position
for separate or simultaneous control.
may also be occupied by loudspeakers and
other electronic equipment. The pit itself can
The majority of theatrical lighting instruments
usually be lighted from house ceiling positions.
are located in the stagehouse. About 25% are
d. Lighting From The House
located on the audience side of the proscenium.
a. Stagehouse Lighting
at an angle from behind the audience to avoid
Positions must be provided over the stage at
the distorting effect of long vertical and di-
various elevations interspersed with rigging
verging shadows. Most of this lighting is di-
lines and battens. Lighting is also mounted on
rected to the forward portion of the stage from
vertical booms at either side of the acting
vertical pipes concealed in the sidewalls of the
Room and from catwalks near or above the
While instruments may be assembled to pipes
at stage level and hoisted as a unit, final ad-
This lighting imparts the modeling compo-
justment is accomplished from portable lad-
ders. Stages without flylofts provide a network
tures, shapes and textures. The catwalks, lad-
of catwalks for attachment of overhead lighting.
ders and/or booms are permanent construction
In general, stagehouse lighting helps create
on which the portable fixtures are mounted
the context of action; the parameters of its
and adjusted. Their location should allow in-
cident angles of 60 and 45 degrees from hor-
ment on stage and invisibility from the audi-
izontal. Balcony fronts near the stage often
ence. It is especially important for perfor-
serve as mounting points also.
mance with minimal set material, such as
Give special attention to the distance relation-
ship involved in obtaining these necessary
b. Proscenium Lighting
lighting angles. Beam control decreases while
Positions above and alongside enable the cur-
fixture size, cost, power consumption and heat
tains to be washed with color. Troughs with
generated increases with distance. It is gen-
deck plate covers can also be installed at the
erally more economical and flexible to make
leading edge of the stage, or pop-up footlights.
the most of positions within 40 feet of the
Proscenium lighting functions to establish
e. Follow Spots
can be useful between scenes and as a tran-
The lowest line of lighting (30 degrees) is
sition between concentration on the play and
mainly devoted to manned followspots, al-
though a few ellipsoidal projectors are often
c. Forestage Lighting
useful at this angle too. Small portable fol-
An elaboration of proscenium lighting occurs
lowspots on stands with a maximum throw of
in some instances where a deep forestage
60' are very useful for drama, and may be used
from platforms in the house.