Craig Fuller

White Light Supplies Kipps and Ragtime at ArtsEd

ArtsEd is one of the UK’s leading drama schools and for over a century has offered a range of Acting and Musical Theatre courses at a variety of levels. As part of its training, third year students take part in their renowned Graduate Shows, with two of this year’s productions being Kipps: The Half a Sixpence Musical and Ragtime. The lighting designer for both was Nic Farman, who approached White Light (WL) to supply the lighting equipment. 






The Graduate Shows at ArtsEd were a much-welcomed return to theatre for Nic who, like so many other designers, had most of his work either cancelled or postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He comments: “I  really enjoy working with the team at ArtsEd so was pleased to be asked back for these shows. Their response to the Covid situation has been really transparent and encouraging and they’ve allowed us to continue making work throughout the restrictions, such as the creative team and cast forming a working bubble for production week, as well as ensuring that we are all regularly being tested. When I found out I was lighting the shows, I immediately got in touch with WL who I have worked with on many occasions now, including when I lit Disney’s Newsies at ArtsEd back in 2019, and who I knew could provide what I needed”. 






As Nic was lighting two shows that are stylistically very different, this meant he had to use the same rig in different ways. He explains: “Kipps was bright and sculpted for all the dance  ensemble numbers, whereas Ragtime was darker and  asymmetrical, often using only one section of sidelight to give us clean shadows and an imposing scale. ArtsEd operates on a semi-fixed rig basis which covers a lot of what I would put into it (I also have the added advantage of having a hand in designing the  fixed rig so it includes some of my stalwarts!). Because the shows play one after the other as opposed to in rep, the fixed rig gives us some flexibility, with time  to change gel and minor refocuses between productions. ArtsEd also have a good stock of ETC Lustr lanterns which means I can have an overhead wash and  sidelight that is completely flexible”. 






He continues: “When it comes to dressing the set, I try to pair lanterns up across the productions. For example, on Kipps, we had a number of flown set pieces  which were lit from the low slips. Those lanterns were then repurposed to dress the girders in the set for Ragtime. On both shows we had a  beautiful layered cyc, courtesy of the designer, Frankie Bradshaw. It had two layers: a flat white cyc upstage which we lit from the bottom to give an  infinite skyline and a second, textured gauze downstage which took light scraping across it from all angles wonderfully. So as a team we  were able to create a vast number of looks with the cloths, from more realistic skylines for Kipps to abstract painting of colour across what almost  felt like a solid rock face for Ragtime”. 






Ragtime © Steve Gregson






Nic then approached the Customer Service team at WL and worked closely with Andy Cullen and Louise Houlihan to supplement the existing fixtures. He explains: “ArtsEd has a great stock of ETC Lustr Series 2 fixtures, with both profile lenses and the fresnel adapter, and I used these for sidelight and overhead fill. This is then supplemented by four High End Solaframe 1000 Profiles which give me flexible spot specials. We also hired units to light the layered cyc, which included the ETC Colorsource which l’m a  huge fan of due to how well they blend, along with their punchy output. We also brought in extra Lustr Series 2 fixtures with Fresnel adapters to light across the front of the  textured cloth with their barn doors giving me control of the abstract streaks of light we were after. For a project like this where you are working across two shows, having infinite colour options is vital as it allows you that much needed  flexibility”. 

Following two months of online rehearsals, this year’s ArtsEd Third Year Graduate Show took place last month and played to a socially-distanced audience of staff and students. For many of the graduates, it was the first time they had performed in over a year and offered them the vital opportunity to showcase their skills before they embark on their professional careers. 






Nic concludes: “It was great to be back in a theatre, making work in what hopefully marks a gradual return to normality. I’d like to say a massive thanks to the team at ArtsEd (Di, Phil, Chris, Molly, Alex, Roo, Joe, Caitlin and Russel) for facilitating a smooth and safe production. I’d also like to thank WL as always for their support throughout the entire process”.  






Show Credits:












Director – Joesph Pitcher
Choreographer – Ashley Nottingham
Musical Director – Nigel Lilley
Set Designer – Frankie Bradshaw
Costume Designer – Gregor Donnelly
Lighting Designer – Nic Farman
Sound Designer – Adam Fisher












Director – Stephen Whitson
Choreographer – Stuart Winter
Musical Director – James McKeon/Ben Cox
Set Designer – Frankie Bradshaw
Costume Designer – Natalie Pryce
Lighting Designer – Nic Farman
Sound Designer – Adam Fisher




The post White Light Supplies Kipps and Ragtime at ArtsEd appeared first on White Light.