Correct lighting of a stage is critical to a production's set design and mood. The difference between a professionally lit stage, and one that is poorly lit, can be the success or failure of a theatrical production. Light your stage well, and you will immerse your audience in the story without distracting them with technical inadequacies.



                                                       Things You'll Need

                                                    1.Human stand-in

                                                    2.500-watt light

                                                    3.250-watt light

                                                    4.Soft light

                                                    5.Extension cord

                                                    6.Surge protector



Place the human stand-in, or "actor," at the focal spot on stage. The spot might be where a monologue occurs, where important lines are spoken, or an area of interest you must highlight.


Plug the extension cord into an available wall outlet. Plug the surge protector into the extension cord. Plug the lights into the surge protector.


Set the 250-watt light behind the actor, turn the light on, and focus the direction of the light towards the back of her head. This light will act as a "head light" or "back light" to the actor. Adjust the light until an outline forms around the actor's shoulders and head when looking at her head-on from the front. You may need to raise the height of the light stand to properly achieve this effect.


Shine the 500-watt light on one side of the actor's face. This light serves as your "key light," and is the primary source for lighting an object. Think of the actor as being aligned with the hands of a clock set at six o'clock. Place the key light at a four o'clock angle when directing light at the actor. Make sure the light is not too bright; the actor should be able to open her eyes completely.


Place the soft, or "softy," light at an eight o'clock angle in relation to the actor. The "softy" light is the "fill light," and is not intended to be as bright as the "key" light. Turn the light on and adjust accordingly.


Plan different lighting setups by carefully examining the stage elements of your production. Multiple actors, objects and scenes will require adjustments to your lighting design.

Tips & Warnings

1.Adjust the intensity of your lights in relation to the mood of the production. For example, a dramatic scene benefits from a lower intensity fill light and dimmer overall lighting.

2.Obscure your stage lights to avoid distracting the audience with production equipment.

3.Do not overload circuit breakers. If necessary, plug your lights into multiple wall outlets on different walls.

4.Lights become warm very quickly. Wear gloves at all times when handling lights.