John B Read is confirmed as the first lighting designer to appear at How To Be Brilliant, the free event series organised by the Institution of Lighting Professionals and hosted by acdc.


How To Be Brilliant is a series of free, fun, friendly, accessible get togethers with a different focus each month. Expert speakers will cover topics that formal lighting training doesn’t always look at – yet are essential for many new designers, apprentices, interns and students.


John B Read was consultant lighting designer to the Royal Opera, the Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet from 1992 to 2005. He is largely responsible for establishing lighting as an integral part of dance presentation.


Mark Ridler, ILP Vice President – Architectural Lighting, said ‘the ILP is fully committed to providing opportunities for inspiration in design and so we are delighted to be able to provide such a wonderful opportunity both for our members and the lighting designers of the future. John B Read is one of the most influential theatrical lighting designers alive and a personal hero of mine, and we are very excited to be welcoming him to this event. ’


John B Read has worked with major choreographers worldwide, notably Sir Frederick Ashton, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Anthony Tudor, Glen Tetley, Jerome Robbins, Rudolf Nureyev, Anthony Dowell, David Bintley, Natalia Makarova, Christopher Bruce, Wayne Eagling, and Ashley Page. Works for the Royal Ballet include SWAN LAKE, NUTCRACKER, THE SNOW QUEEN, MAYERLING, ANASTASIA, FRANKENSTEIN, LA BAYADÈRE and THE PRINCE OF THE PAGODAS.


He has also lit contemporary dance for Rambert Dance, London Contemporary Dance Theatre, and Scottish Ballet. West End work includes ON YOUR TOES with Natalia Makarova, THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD with Ernie Wise, Elaine Paige’s ROMANCE AND THE STAGE, and Ibsen’s GHOSTS. He made his début at the Royal National Theatre in 1991 with Stephen Berkoff’’s THE TRIAL (Kafka).


His opera credits include Götz Friedrich’s production of DER RING DES NIEBELUNGEN, Andreas Schaaf’s DON GIOVANNI and LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, Colin Graham’s DEATH IN VENICE (also the Met, New York), MADAMA BUTTERFLY (also Seville), A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, ANNA BOLENA, TOSCA, DIE MEISTERSINGER and LA CENERENTOLA, all at the Royal Opera House and AÏDA for the English National Opera, and many productions for the English Music Theatre and Opera Groups.


Recent productions include THE RITE OF SPRING with L’APRÈS MIDI D’UN FAUNE (English National Ballet); MARGUERITE ET ARMAND (La Scala, Milan) and L’HISTOIRE DE MANON (Opéra/Ballet National de Paris), as well as revivals in Tokyo, New York, San Francisco, Prague, Munich, Vienna and Budapest. MacMillan’s ROMEO AND JULIET was performed at the O2 arena in 2011 newly lit by John B. Read.


He is currently working on several Royal Ballet productions, two programmes in Oslo, revivals for the Deutsche Ballett am Rhein, the Stanislavsky Theatre in Moscow, American Ballet Theater and ballets in Japan, Texas and Colorado.


Themes of the evening are likely to include:

  • We all reveal the human form within a visual environment. The techniques used in Dance will be fascinating.
  • How John structures his designs – how does this contrast with attendees’ techniques.
  • Lighting in dance (and in particular contemporary dance) is increasingly important in creating scenography. There is a debate as to how much light can/should create virtual architecture which be interesting.
  • Light in dance reveals and transforms the scenography. It also creates the atmosphere of the drama played out on stage. An overview of John’s work will illustrate the power of light.


With talks, workshops, refreshments and a chance to meet up with others in the same boat, How To Be Brilliant is hosted by acdc in their London studio and organised by the Institution of Lighting Professionals. Each month sees a different lighting designer heading up the evening to provide friendly support to new lighting professionals.


The event is now LIVE and BOOKABLE: – registration is essential as places are  limited and are first come, first served.


How To Be Brilliant will be officially launched at the ILP’s Lightscene theatre in Ecobuild at 3.15pm on Tuesday 5 March – all welcome.

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