Lighting Design History Project

In the Spring and Summer of 1998, funded by the John R. Park Teachers' Fellowship, I embarked on a project to document the history of the Lighting Design profession. I began with research on the Federal Theatre Project with an eye towards the individuals who helped shape theatrical lighting design as a distinct profession during that period: primarily Jean Rosenthal, Abe Feder, and Peggy Clark. I quickly concluded that there was a dearth of information about the early years of the profession. With the understanding that lighting design primarily propagates itself through the lighting assistant as an apprentice of sorts, I then focused on interviewing theatrical lighting designers and others about their professional life, their history, and memories of their mentors.

During the summer of 1998, I traveled to New York City four times, and points South and West as needed, and captured on videotape discussions with the following individuals:

Michael Baldassari
John Lee Beatty
Ken Billington
Howell B. Binkley
Dawn C. Chiang
F. Mitchell Dana
Marina Draghici
Peggy Eisenhauer
Beverly Emmons
Jules Fisher
John Gleason
Donald Holder
Dan Kinsley
John McKernon
Tharon Musser (See excerpt)
Jeanne Koenig Rubin
David Segal
Jennifer Tipton
William Warfel
Marc B. Weiss
Richard Winkler
Robin Wagner

Because of leaving the Theatre Department at the University of Utah at the end of that summer, I was unable to continue the project. I have returned to the project by begininng to transfer the SVGA videotaped interviews to DV video format. I plan to make the interviews available on-line for scholarly research, and possible produce a documentary using the footage.