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White Light Goes On Tour with Poet in da Corner
UK – White Light has supplied the lighting equipment for the UK tour of Poet in da Corner, following its critically-acclaimed run at the Royal Court Theatre.
Poet in da Corner is a coming of age story inspired by Dizzee Rascal’s seminal album Boy in Da Corner. Written and performed by lyricist and poet Debris Stevenson, it originally ran at the Royal Court in 2018. This latest tour is a brand-new production, directed by Ola Ince and featuring a lighting design by Anna Watson. Anna comments: “Poet in da Corner is a really original and unique story told primarily through grime music. With this in mind, I always knew that the lighting would have to work hard in order to match the show’s epic, fast-paced soundtrack. I wanted my design to support the story and music as well as capture the grime rave aesthetic. I also had to work alongside the set design by Jacob Hughes which is a beautifully simple layout of yellow portals on truss along with a high shine floor with a revolve. As a creative team, we set ourselves one objective: to help create an unforgettable gig theatre vibe.”
With the creative team working so holistically, Anna ensured that she attended as many rehearsals as possible. She explains: “I always try to attend rehearsals but it was particularly important with this show as it really helped me get inside the music and be familiar with the choreography which really drives the piece. It also allows us to add extremely detailed cueing to the book whilst still in the rehearsal room, which ultimately helped ease our move into the theatre.”
Knowing what equipment she needed for her design, Anna approached WL’s Hire team. In terms of her fixture choices, she explains: “Overhead, we had nine metres of GLP Impression X4 Bar 20s and nine Martin MAC Aura XBs. The X4 Bars were the lighting stars of the show. This was my first opportunity to really test these units and they did not disappoint. Visible to the audience, we used them for a huge variety of effects and atmospheric lighting. With incredible programming from Stephen Settle, they filled or dissected the space with beautiful accuracy and detail. The Aura XBs also worked hard as moving beams through haze or acting as specials to light the performers.”
She continues: “On the booms, we had ETC ColorSource PARs, ColorSource Profiles and PAR 64s, with birdies used as footlights. We used 30 RGBW LED fluorescents upstage mainly behind a black BP screen, which gave them a slightly ghostly or projected feel as they chased along or flickered to beats of the music. These were only actually then revealed for one track which is set in a club but we ensured they were shown off in their full glory. We used old school asymmetric floods as audience blinders.”
As the show was also visiting a range of venues across the UK, this is something that Anna had to factor into her design. She comments: “As the show is touring to a wide variety of venues (from medium size studios to Hackney Empire), couple with the tight turnaround time at each, we wanted to reduce the variables as much as possible, so made the decision to tour everything. Fortunately, with a great deal of support from WL and GLP, we were able to put together a rig that could feel big enough and flexible enough to support this bold, fast-paced and beautifully loud show. The overhead kit is rigged on three freestanding truss structures plus a metal frame at the front of the stage. The rig was always going to have to work hard and, with a fairly simple set, it was down to the lighting to capture the grime rave feel; something we feel we achieved.”
Poet in da Corner opened at the Royal Court Theatre and is now embarking on its UK tour, visiting The MAC, Belfast later this week.
Anna concludes: “As always, I was very well looked after by the Royal Court team, with huge support by Johnny Wilson and the lighting team. Also a big thanks to WL for once again supplying me with the fixtures I needed.”
photos: Helen Murray
27th February 2020
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