Johanna Town (c) and ALD Exec at their 2018 Strategy meeting

New ALD Chair Joanna Town announces galvanised focus and launches The Big Six

At the start of 2018, Johanna Town stepped into the office of Chair for the Association of Lighting Designers (ALD). Just two months on, Town has solidified the manifesto that will steer her course and chart the direction of the Association, as she embarks on this prestigious role.

Town’s diverse career as a successful Lighting Designer, contrasted against some learning struggles she faced at school, informs her manifesto. Town’s career in Lighting Design began with apprenticeship training at Manchester’s Royal Exchange in the 1980s. Later, she became head of lighting at London’s Royal Court, where she remained for 17 years lighting over fifty Royal Court shows, before embarking on a fully freelance career ten years ago.  

Characterising the main aim in her new role, Town would like “…to be a springboard to bring out the best in people who have plans and ambitions, and this includes equality and diversity. As an individual who’s passionate and believes in theatre, I want to be able to reach out and help as many others as I can.”

Following a two-day strategy meeting of the ALD Executive Committee, where the goal of all participants was to ‘to help make lighting in all its practices a rewarding and fulfilling industry for everyone to work in, and to contribute to create an industry that can be sustainable for future generations of lighting practitioners’, Town announced the initiatives that would drive the ALD forward under her guidance.


Town believes, “These are exciting times for the ALD”. With the executive committee she has underlined a set of initiatives that would drive the ALD forward under her guidance, known as ‘The Big Six’. These are summarised as:

  • To create a more relevant resource for our members to help strengthen practice and standards.
  • To promote the work of the ALD more actively within the industry.
  • To create a more outward and campaigning Association.
  • To provide more opportunities for our members to develop and grow.
  • To connect with people from diverse backgrounds and socio-economic groups through education and outreach.
  • To create more resources and partnerships to help the Association expand.


Further to The Big Six, a new mission statement was agreed to better reflect the membership and the aims of the Association: ‘The ALD is a collective and inclusive voice to effect change and champion excellence in Lighting and Video for live performance’. While the overall vision is now ‘To be a powerful and passionate voice in the industry, to improve the way members are valued and to promote the sustainability of our careers, building a legacy for future generations’.


The ALD’s strategy will be further discussed in the afternoon session of their Annual General Meeting, which takes place on Saturday 24th March 2018, at London’s Central Bankside. The Executive Committee extend an invitation to all who feel these points are relevant to them, to contribute to the re-branding and expansion of the ALD for the future of Lighting Design into the next generation.


The AGM morning session features professional development sessions ranging from an introduction to temporary power through marketing for freelancers and includes a discussion about the priorities for the forthcoming discussions with Equity about national designer contracts.Further details of the day can be found here: