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Showlight 2017 – Successful Showlight takes Florence by storm

Showlight 2017 – Successful Showlight takes Florence by storm

Italy – A hugely successful and enjoyable Showlight 2017 took place in May at the Palazzo dei Congressi in Florence, Italy. This much-loved, nomadic lighting quadrennial – the tenth of its kind – was attended by a record number of international delegates with 25 countries represented by over 400 attendees. The audience was treated to a broad and varied programme of papers and discussion panels delivered by 27 international designers and artists from many lighting disciplines across theatre, opera, film and television, architecture, live events, and everything in between.

Speakers for 2017 included Durham Marenghi, Phil Méheux, Roger Simonsz, Mikki Kunttu, Al Gurdon, Amy Mae-Smith, Isabel Nielen, Jeff Ravitz and many more. Italian lighting designers from the host country included Marco Filibeck, Vinicio Cheli and Aldo Visentin.

Showlight is a unique networking event, with a very different format and focus from other conferences. Organised by professionals, for professionals, it presents an open forum in which lighting and video designers, students, manufacturers and delegates are given a unique opportunity to mingle in an informal atmosphere, with plenty of time to get to know each other and each others’ work.

Alongside the small exhibition that surrounded the auditorium, there was plenty of time for socialising at company dinners, the Gala dinner and during the cultural visits to theatres and artisan workshops in and around Florence, all of which were based around the central programme of papers delivered by practitioners of their art. The three days were informal, friendly, informative and entertaining and a much-anticipated event in the lighting world.

Student participation is always high on the agenda for Showlight and Showlight 2017’s exhibitors sponsored over 40 students, each of whom was assigned to a manufacturer for the duration of the event. Part of the student remit is to help the exhibitors set up and break down the stands. A number were also assigned to the Showlight film crew led by Bernie Davis, which recorded the papers sessions and provided on-screen visuals - to act as camera operators and sound assistants. In return the students had the opportunity to talk to manufacturers, lighting practitioners, delegates and other students and exchange information and ideas.

The unique format of Showlight – where the exhibition closes while papers are given – ensured exhibitors were able to enjoy the speakers’ papers and participate in the Question and Answer sessions before returning to host their stands between the papers sessions during the leisurely refreshment breaks. These breaks gave all participants plenty of time to explore the exhibition, talk to the exhibitors and discuss the papers.

Exhibitors also hosted company dinners for all delegates in restaurants around Florence and the Monday evening saw the Gala Dinner take place in the beautiful grounds of the Serre Torrigiani gardens with diners serenaded by the Siena Choir in the grounds before being led to the beautifully decorated greenhouses for dinner.

Claypaky, Showlight’s main sponsor for 2017, hosted the Lightpower Collection of Neal Preston Rock n Roll photography, In the Eye of the Rock n Roll Hurricane. Proceeds from the sale of Preston’s photography go to Behind the Scenes and Backup, two entertainment technology foundations that provide relief for technicians in need, for which Lightpower Collection has raised $75,000 to date. Gallery and Exhibition Manager, Giulia Canali, was delighted to present each charity with a cheque for the sum of $10,000.

“We have wanted to host Showlight in Italy for many years and we have been delighted with the result,” states Pio Nahum, CEO of main sponsor, Claypaky. “It is an honour to welcome so many lighting designers to our country, to show them our famous hospitality and to spend so much quality time with them. And I have been so impressed by the speakers, there has been such diversity in the presentations. Of course, everyone here is a lighting expert, but there are always new things you can learn from each other at an event such as this! Showlight has been a wonderful opportunity for Claypaky to strengthen our relationships with so many prominent people in the world of lighting.”

Showlight chairman John Allen comments: “This was my fifth Showlight and the first as chairman. It was an honour to chair and lead such an outstanding event and I must thank my entire committee for all their hard work and help in the planning and execution of yet another enjoyable celebration of lighting for performance, art and architecture.

“I would also like to thank all our speakers for their varied, and immensely interesting and entertaining papers,” he adds. “If you missed Showlight in Florence, make a note in your diary now. The next Showlight is in May 2021!”

Showlight 2017 would not be possible without the generosity of its sponsors, and we would like to extend our thanks to the following: Claypaky as the host and main sponsor, Diamond sponsor Oasis Enterprises, Gold sponsors Robe, Osram and Eyetidy, Silver sponsors White Light, DTS, MA Lighting and Lee Filters and Bronze sponsors ETC, d3 technologies, Charcoalblue, LSC Lighting Systems, Coemar and ACT Lighting alongside supporters, LSI and PLASA Media.

For more information on Showlight 2107, visit the Showlight website where there is a photo gallery, information on the speakers and their papers and testimonials from the speakers, delegates, exhibitors and students.

photo: David Clarke

9th June 2017

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