Ground-breaking Installation ‘Blackout’ to run at PLASA Show 2019

Mig Burgess’s ground-breaking mental health installation will be at the PLASA Show from 15th to 17th September at Olympia London.

After an acclaimed initial run at Guildford School of Acting (University of Surrey) earlier this year, this unique fusion of cutting-edge technology, art, theatre and education visits PLASA as it gears up for a nationwide roll out. 

Blackout is a multisensory experience that aims to give visitors a rare insight into the mind of someone with Bipolar II disorder. Utilising an innovative combination of light, sound, video and vibration, the installation creates a sensory journey into a Bipolar II patient’s head as they transition through a hyper manic and manic low episode. The experience has been created for a single viewer and lasts six minutes.

Mig, a lighting tutor at GSA and an experienced Production LX, has suffered from Bipolar II for most of her life. Her driver for creating Blackout was the need to bring this taboo subject out into the open, provoke discussion and offer solidarity to those who suffer.  She also wanted to try and interpret her condition using the language of her profession.

“I’m a creative – it is far easier to express my feelings through art than through words. I see Blackout as much more than just a design installation. I want to provoke more discussion around the topic of mental health in this industry, and beyond. I want to encourage people to be honest about their mental health, to talk about it and be open. It’s only through discussion and openness that we can educate others to understand more, and be more understanding.”

The creative team behind Blackout is a collective of recognised professionals, including Theatre Director Simon Anderson, award winning Video Designer Finn Ross, Paul Burgess of Sadler’s Wells and Sound Engineer Zoe Milton. Simon Anderson comments “Blackout is a totally unique way of engaging peoples’ emotions and affecting them in a non-conventional way. It was an incredible directorial challenge!”

The installation was experienced by 250 industry professionals, young people and mental health experts at its launch at the University of Surrey and has received significant support from the industry, including key sponsor Robe Lighting who provided the initial funding and the brand new T1 fixtures and Cycbar 15s for the installation. Several other companies have provided additional equipment. As Mig says, “It’s been lovely to see the industry pull together non-competitively to support this project to promote mental health awareness.”

The run at the PLASA Show is intended to be industry-specific, a way for Mig to give back to the profession that has given her so much. “Our industry has been slow in acknowledging the effects of mental health and there has never been any significant research for this industry in this country about how it affects people who work in it.”

To address this Dr Paul Hanna – Senior Lecturer and Research Director in Clinical Psychology at University of Surrey - will also be conducting industry-specific research alongside Blackout at the PLASA Show. The aim of this evaluation is to explore attitudes to mental health so we can begin to help people that suffer in the technical entertainment industry. This research has been commissioned by prominent industry associations: PLASA, PSA, ALD, ASD and ABTT.
Blackout is appearing at the PLASA Show from 15th-17th September at Olympia London. To find out more visit

Find out more at the Blackout Eventbrite page:

When you book to see “Blackout” at the PLASA Show you are agreeing to participate in our exciting industry specific evaluation to research mental health within our working environment. This will help us to improve our working practices within the entertainment technology sector.

Blackout has ONLY been made possible with the continued support of:
Guildford School of Acting, Robe Lighting, Blue-I, Hawthorn, HD Pro Audio, Light Initiative, MDG, Nocturnal, Shure, Stage Sound Services, and White Light.