Celebrating success and recognition in lighting design: 2017 Michael Northen Bursary (MNB) Award winners, left to right: Hector Murray, Jess Bernberg and Jack Coleman

The ALD’s Michael Northen Awards 2018 Offer Students Vital Opportunity and Experience

The Association of Lighting Designers’ annual Michael Northen Awards launched this week. The awards are a vital opportunity for students just leaving their college or university course to gain practical skills and experience in creating a portfolio which sells their design ideas.
Entry is now open, and all submissions must be received before Midnight on the closing date: Wednesday 31st October.

“What better accolade with which to enter the industry than with a lighting design award?” stresses Johanna Town, Chair of the ALD. “The Michael Northen Bursary scheme (MNB) is a great aide to developing a lighting designer’s abilities in communication. To be able to sell your ideas and passions for a design to other industry leaders, is as important a skill, maybe even more so, as the design itself. For this reason, this particular award entry is so important to a designer’s future.”

Jess Bernberg won last year’s Francis Reid Award, which is one award within the MNB scheme. She explains, “The MNB is a fantastic opportunity for recognition and exposure for a collection of work. Often once a show has closed, its legacy can be slightly lost, save a few production shots and reviews, so to have a panel of top lighting designers look into your process for its creation it is highly valuable. The ability to create a portfolio is a vital skill so often overlooked or forgotten, but hugely important to the way we make theatre.”

Again this year, a total of four awards will be presented under the Michael Northen Bursary (MNB). All students with an interest in lighting design and production, as well as affiliate members of the ALD, should apply. Award entry is not limited to students on vocational theatre courses – any student wishing to advance in theatre lighting production should apply.

The awards are a celebration of imaginative and creative lighting and video design and represent a chance for young designers to showcase their talent, bringing their work to the attention of experienced lighting and video designers, as well to the wider reach of industry professionals. Awards are presented to those who demonstrate strong, imaginative and creative lighting or video designs.

The four awards for 2018 are:

The Michael Northen Award – named in honour of the first credited lighting designer in the UK and his work on “The Mousetrap” which can still be seen in London’s West End today. The winning lighting designer of this award will be presented with a cheque for £500 and a copy of Michael’s book, “Northen Lights”.

The ETC Award – ETC (Electronic Theatre Controls), specialists in lighting solutions and control equipment for theatre, film & TV studios, architectural spaces as well as entertainment industries, sponsors the £350 award for excellence in lighting design.

The Francis Reid Award - Reid was a founding member of the Association, playing a key role in establishing the practice of stage lighting design and the role of the lighting designer in the UK. He was described as “a theatre-maker who did lighting, rather than a lighting man who did theatre”. The lighting designer who receives this prize will be presented with a cheque for £250.

Excellence in Video Design Award – Presented alongside a cheque for £250, the winner of this award will be recognised for their artistic distinction in the growing art of video design in live performance.

An esteemed panel of judges will deliberate over submissions to decide the deserving winners. Awards will be presented at the annual “Lighting Lunch” held in London in December 2018.

The full criteria, including checklists, for submission to each award can be found on the ALD website: https://www.ald.org.uk/awards/michael-northen-awards

The awards are open NOW and all submissions MUST be received before the closing date of midnight on Wednesday, 31st October, 2018.