347 Lighting Design I

Lighting Design I – THR 347               Kade Mendelowitz

Theatre 347, 3 Credits, University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Office Hours; Tuesdays 1:00 – 1:45 or by appointment.  Office: 223 (by KUAC) or in the shop.

Course Description:

The exploration and application of elements of design (color, texture, intensity, line, composition) as they relate to lighting for theatre, dance, and life.  Production work required.  3 Credits.


Comm 131X or 141X

Student must be able to see details from a distance, have good color differentiation skills, and be able to draft (you will be taught how to draft in this course; but student must be physically able to do so).

Suggested, although not required: THR 241 “Basic Stagecraft” and THR 247 “Introduction to Theatrical Design”.

Course Goals:

Students will learn how to successfully light a show so that the actors will be seen by the audience in a way that meets the general mood and style of the production’s design.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Learn the differences between the (4) most common types of fixtures used in the Theatre; and why a designer would choose one over the other.
  • Learn how to hang and focus an instrument safely.
  • Learn the basics of power distribution, and how to use electricity safely within the theatrical environment.
  • How to read and draft a lightplot.
  • Analyze a script from a lighting designer’s perspective.
  • Develop a lighting concept; and how to create a color key that supports that idea.

Instructional Method:

Most of the class will be lecture/demonstration.  We will make use of Blackboard (UAF’s officially supported electronic Content Management System) – so students will be required to have access to the course Blackboard site, and a computer to run the CD for reading assignments.

Required Reading:

      Theatrical Lighting Design Interactive CD by Kade Mendelowitz

Other Suggestions:

  •       The Lighting Art Richard Palmer
  •       TCI Magazine
  •       Lighting Dimensions Magazine
  •       Architectural Lighting Magazine

Required Materials:

  •  Drafting pencils or leads and holder in 6H, 2H and H.  Some students may need HB or 4H in addition.  Technical (.05) pencils are NOT ACCEPTABLE!
  •  Architect’s scale rule
  •  Eraser (Plastic-type is recommended)
  •  Erasing Shield
  •  45 or 30/60 degree triangles (at least 8-10″ long)  or one adjustable triangle (expensive).
  •  Drafting tape (or weak masking tape).
  •  Drafting Vellum (24″ or 36″ roll or 18″X24″ & 24″X36″ sheets as needed).
  •  1/2’” Lighting Template
  •  Ames lettering guide
  •  May be needed:  “T” Square (at least 24″ – 36″ recommended).

 Grade Breakdown

Note: If you are taking this course to be applied as a Major requirement, or to satisfy the “Oral Intensive” core requirement (which most of you are) any grade under a “C” will not meet the minimum requirement for the Major…and you will need to retake the course.

Please do the work to achieve better than a “C-“!

Lighting Analysis and Discussion of ideas (Oral presentation)  20%

Additional participation bonus                             5%

Crew Participation (7 Hours Scale)                        5%

Drafting Assignment II                                    10%

First Project (Case 457)                                20%

Second Project (A Night for Conversation)                  25%

Midterm Examination                                     15%

Course Policies:

Class Attendance and Participation is essential to this course.  Much of what you will learn will come from our discussions of classwork as well as the productions and crew time – please let me know if you have any schedule conflicts so we can work them out A.S.A.P. before your final grade is effected.  When we do lighting demonstrations in class, it is hard to get classmates to explain what was covered.  To that end – all absences above 2 will effect your grade one step  (e.g.; B to B-).

Late assignments will be accepted, but will be penalized 3 points per day (not per class session).

Please note that this is an Oral Intensive Course.  For each of the projects, each student will prepare an oral presentation outlining his/her ideas for the production they envision.

  1. Each student must be involved in the preparation and delivery either of 2 or more course related presentations of at least 20 minutes duration each
  2. All presentations will involve question and answer interaction.
  3. All presentations must have a clear introduction-body- conclusion organization as outlined in the “Lighitng Concept” description handout.
  4. Both presentations will involve the development and use of appropriate visual aids (draftings, color keys, etc.)
  5. All presentations will receive evaluation by the instructor on oral communication competency (including responsiveness to audience questions), as well as on subject mastery.

In addition to what is listed, students are encouraged to attend all UAF Theatre Department productions.  (To aid in that endeavor, 1 complimentary ticket will be available to you through the theatre UAF box office off the great hall).  For those students not in the Fairbanks area: I encourage you to see theatre.  Many companies offer reduced ticket prices for students – and you can learn a great deal simply by seeing how other people design their productions.  You likely won’t be able to watch a show without noticing the lighting – this is a good thing!

Important selections from the UAF Student Code of Conduct:
“UAF requires students to conduct themselves honestly and responsibly, and to respect the rights of others. Conduct that unreasonably interferes with the learning environment or that violates the rights of others is prohibited…. Honesty is a primary responsibility of you and every other UAF student. The following are common guidelines regarding academic integrity:

  • Students will not collaborate on any quizzes or exams that will contribute to their grade in a course, unless permission is granted by the instructor of the course. Only those materials permitted by the instructor may be used to assist in quizzes and examinations.
  • Students will not represent the work of others as their own. A student will attribute the source of information not original with himself or herself (direct quotes or paraphrases) in compositions, theses and other reports.
  • No work submitted for one course may be submitted for credit in another course without the explicit approval of both instructors.”

Disabilities Services:
The Office of Disability Services implements the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and insures that UAF students have equal access to the campus and course materials. I will work with the Office of Disabilities Services (208 WHIT, 474-5655) to provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities.

Support Services:

  • UAF Student Support Services office is located in 508 Gruening. Phone: 474-6844, Fax: 474-7480. Further information may be obtained at www.uaf.edu/sssp or by email at: fysssp@uaf.edu
  • The UAF Writing Center is located in 801 Gruening. Phone: 474-5314. Hours are listed on their website: www.uaf.edu/english/writingcenter
  • There is also a Speech Center available through the Department of Communication which can help you prepare your Oral Presentation.