Pamela Raith Photography

White Light Goes Riverside with Persona

White Light has supplied the lighting for Persona, which has reopened the

newly-renovated Riverside Studios.







on Ingmar Bergman’s 1966 iconic Swedish psychological movie, Persona

tells the story of a renowned stage actress who relapses into total silence and

is sent to a remote summer house where a nurse must break her silent spell.

This production is the first to be performed in the venue’s Studio 3 and

features a lighting design by Jack Weir. Jack comments: “This is an extremely

visual piece of theatre. Footage from the ground-breaking film has been

re-created and re-shot on location on an island off the coast of Sweden which

has then been integrated with the BAFTA Award-winning Fotini Dimu’s incredible

grey set and projection by PJ McEvoy. It’s an extraordinary backdrop for the

actors to perform on and for me to work with”.







main brief for his lighting design was to help create atmosphere throughout the

piece; particularly for the sunrise and sunset moments. He explains: “As we

were working with the theatre’s brand-new LED and moving light rig, I realised

that I actually needed tungsten light sources to achieve the feel required. As

such, it was a case of drawing on some classic generic fixtures to supplement

the modern ones in order to generate that immutable tungsten warmth”.







approached WL and selected the ETC Source Four Profile, ETC Source Four PAR and

Par Can 64. He explains: “Whilst it’s fantastic for companies like WL to

continue investing in the latest equipment, it’s actually important for them to

have a selection of classic fixtures which designers may need to draw on; as I

did in this situation”.



Alongside the visually demanding set, Jack also had to tailor his design to work with William Close’s Earth Harp. Jack explains: “Musician William Close is part of the production as is his iconic Earth Harp. Due to the size of the instrument, it actually runs through up into the rig. As such, the rig had to work in tandem with this, both in terms of the fixture placement overhead as well as the focusing of front of house fixtures. Also, with projection playing such a huge role, it was important to ensure that the show is lit from angles that prevent any shadows on the back wall”.






As this was the first production at the newly-refurbished Riverside Studios, this meant that Jack was the first lighting designer to light in the space: “It’s so exciting being part of the first show in a new space as you become part of that building’s footprint. On a very obvious level, playing with the new control systems, equipment and infrastructure makes the job a lot of fun!”.






The show, along with the building, has now opened and will run until 22nd February 2020.






Jack concludes: “It’s been an absolute pleasure working on Persona. I’d like to say a big thanks to General Managers Clive Chennery and Joanne Benjamin, Pamela Raith Photography, Technical Manager Ian Dickson Wilkinson and my Production Manager James Anderton”.