It’s Panto Season for White Light – Oh Yes it is!

As always at this time of year, the Pantomime season is well and truly underway with dames, beanstalks and magic lamps taking centre stage up and down the country. As one of the leading suppliers to West End and UK touring theatre, White Light is supplying the lighting equipment to a range of pantomimes all across the UK.

WL’s Hire Manager Jedd Hamilton comments: “For a lot of theatres, pantomimes are their biggest shows of the year. They are often extremely loud, fun and flashy productions; meaning they require a range of lighting equipment to achieve this impact. As a company, it’s our role to ensure we supply designers with exactly what they need”.

As usual, it’s a host of familiar titles that are gracing the stage this Christmas. WL is supplying productions of Jack and the Beanstalk at the Bournemouth Pavilion, Cambridge Arts Theatre and Salisbury Playhouse. The Lighting Designer at Salisbury is Nic Farman, who comments: “I fundamentally start designing a panto in the same way I design any show, setting out concepts for each location and scene and finding the narrative in the script and music. We’ve tried to find every bit of magic in every moment of Jackand built from there. James Button’s set design is sumptuous and beautiful so lighting it has been a joy.

He adds: “The show is pretty epic with over 200 individual RGBW festoon bulbs and a lot of practical elements in the set. In terms of the larger rig, I’ve drawn on the Martin MAC 700 Profiles and Coemar Infinity M Spots for the overhead spot work. I’ve also added some extra Martin MAC Auras which give me a great full stage wash from front of house and overhead. Elation Six PARs light the proscenium arch and three portals on stage and there’s also eight GLP Impression X4 Bars which light the downstage cloths”.

Another popular title is the iconic Snow White which WL is supplying at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre and Bath Theatre Royal. The company is also supplying an adult-only version of the show at London’s Above the Stag Theatre which is renowned for its adult pantomimes. The lighting designer is Jamie Platt, who comments: “With panto, it’s the old adage of more is more. Every slight moment is a cue and a bold one at that. I don’t think you’d ever be able to get away with turning the stage green and strobing half the rig whenever the villain walks on stage in a play”.

That said, working on a panto that The Stage lists in its ‘Top Ten Panto List’ does mean there is an element of expectation. Jamie explains: “I worked on the show last year that WL also supplied and each time we’re trying to make the show bigger and better. This year, the show is certainly bold and WL have been fantastic in helping us achieve this”.

Alongside this, WL is also supplying equipment to Cinderella at the Epsom Playhouse, Greenwich Theatre and Malvern Theatre. Other productions include Sleeping Beauty at the Rhyl Pavilion and Worcester’s Swan Theatre, Peter Pan at the Blackpool Opera House and Aladdin at the Assembly Halls in Tunbridge Wells.

Jedd adds: “The pantomime season concludes what has been an extremely busy year for WL. We continue to be the leading lighting supplier to the West End, supplying new productions of 42nd Street, Young Frankenstein, Heisenberg and Venus in Fur, along with continuing our work on long-running shows such as Matilda, Les Misérables and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. We also supplied some of the UK’s biggest tours, as seen with The Band, Miss Saigon, Grease and Flashdance along with site-specific projects, fringe shows and school productions. We’re looking forward to 2018 where we will continue to work on a range of productions and offer designers the best service possible”.

Photos courtesy of The Other Richard, PGBStudios and Robert Day.

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