The Purpose of Stage Lighting
Anyone who has attended a live event has likely been exposed to stage lighting and how it can
influence their experience of the performance.
Stage lighting is, in essence, an integral part of the performance, but venues and/or performers
(whoever is responsible for providing the lighting for the event) tend to prioritize other aspects over the lighting which can negatively impact the audience experience.
To better appreciate the importance of lighting, it is helpful to understand the purpose and the multiple roles the lighting plays during a live event.
The goal of stage lighting includes different objectives. It can help you capture the audience’s attention and enhance a stage production in several ways.
The right stage lighting can:
Illuminate the stage: The most basic objective for is to illuminate the performers, sets and props so the audience can clearly see everything they’re meant to see onstage. Inadequate lighting can take away from a production.
Highlight different areas: Lighting can also help you direct audience members’ eyes to
where they should go. In the most dramatic instances, much of a stage may be dark with just one spotlight shining on a focal point.
Set the scene: Lighting can also help you create the visual you want in a scene. In some
instances, this means creating optical illusions with lights. You may use a moving light to make
it appear as though the sun is rising, or make the stage go dark as an actor flips a prop light
switch in a room.
Control the mood: Stage lighting can also have a major effect on the mood. The idea is to match the lighting to the content of the show to encourage the right emotions in the audience. This could mean a soft, warm glow for a happy scene in a play or dim, cool hues for a sad ballad during a concert.
Quality stage lighting can transform a good production into a memorable performance.