Intro to Lighting in Design and Practice

By Caitlin Hall

Intro to Lighting in Design and Practice


By Caitlin Hall


Unit Objective:

Students will be able to demonstrate the understanding of lighting principles by designing a light plot for a production.



Beginning/Intermediate Technical Theatre


Previous Experience:

Beginning set design


2014 National Standards:

  • TH:Cr1.1.I.a. Apply basic research to construct ideas about the visual composition of a drama/theatre work.
  • TH:Cr1.1.I.b. Explore the impact of technology on design choices in a drama/theatre work.
  • TH:Cr3.1.I.c. Refine technical design choices to support the story and emotional impact of a devised or scripted drama/theatre work.
  • TH:Pr5.1.I.b. Use researched technical elements to increase the impact of design for a drama/theatre production.
  • TH:Re9.1.I.b. Consider the aesthetics of the production elements in a drama/theatre work.
  • TH:Cn11.2.I.b. Use basic theatre research methods to better understand the social and cultural background of a drama/theatre work.


Big Idea:

How we look at the world can change as we learn to view it through a different lens.


Essential Questions:

  • What happens when theatre artists use their imaginations and/or learned theatre skills while engaging in creative exploration and inquiry?
  • How do theatre artists transform and edit their initial ideas?
  • What can I do to fully prepare a performance or technical design?
  • How are the theatre artist’s processes and the audience’s perspectives impacted by analysis and synthesis?
  • In what ways can research into theatre histories, theories, literature, and performances alter the way a drama process or production is understood?
  • How can understanding how lights work in a production change the way that theatre artists process and understand theatrical performances?


Key Knowledge and Skills:

  • Develop a concept
  • Create a lighting plot
  • Observe lighting in everyday situations
  • Create an instrument schedule
  • Create a channel hookup
  • Hang and focus lights for a show
  • Create a short pitch presentation for their design


Authentic Performance Tasks:

  • Develop an original design concept – Application
  • Describe lighting from everyday situations – Explanation
  • Create a lighting plot supporting their concept – Application, Interpretation
  • Create paperwork associated with a lighting plot – Application
  • Pitch their lighting plot to the class – Perspective, Empathy, Self Understanding
  • Hang and focus lights for a show – Application



Lesson 1 — Lights: an Introduction to Instruments

Objective: Students will be able to identify different types of lights and their purposes by filling out an equipment worksheet.


Lesson 2 – Caring For Your Fixtures

Objective: Students will be able to clean and maintain different lighting fixtures, including changing lamps, cleaning lights, and checking cables.


Lesson 3 – Starting the Lighting Design: Concepts

Objective: Students will demonstrate their understanding of design concepts by selecting a conceptual idea for their lighting design, with supporting artifacts.


Lesson 4 – The Dos and Don’ts of Lighting Design

Objective: Students will be able to choose appropriate lights, colors, and effects for their lighting designs, as demonstrated by a collaborative quiz.


Lesson 5: Learning to Draft

Objective: Students will demonstrate their ability to use drafting tools to draw their lighting design by working on their design in class.


Lesson 6: Drafting Workday

Objective: Students will set a goal of what they want to accomplish on their project that day in class and work on their projects.


Lesson 7: Paperwork is Your Friend

Objective: Students will demonstrate their understanding of the importance of lighting paperwork by creating Instrument Schedules and Channel Hookups for their designs.


Lesson 8: Presentations

Objective: Students will show their understanding of the principles of lighting design by presenting their concept and lighting design to the class.


Lesson 9: The Hang (Optional)

Objective: Students will be able to read and hang a light plot.


Intro to Lighting in Design and Practice Unit of Lessons.Caitlin Hall