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ALD Launches Michael Northen Awards 2017

ALD Launches Michael Northen Awards 2017

UK – The Association of Lighting Designers has announced the launch of the 2017 Michael Northen Awards. This year, following extensive research by the ALD’s student working group, a total of four awards will be presented under the ‘Michael Northen Award scheme’. The awards are open to current students – not limited to those on vocational theatre course – as well as affiliate members of the ALD.

The awards are a celebration of imaginative and creative lighting and video design and represent a chance for young designers to showcase their talent, bringing their work to the attention of experienced lighting and video designers, as well to the wider reach of industry professionals. Awards are presented to those who demonstrate strong, imaginative and creative lighting or video designs.

The winner of last year’s Award was Rory Beaton, who has since held the role of lighting designer for an extensive list of productions with companies including the Danish National Opera, The Almeida Theatre, Wexford Festival Opera and The Cambridge Arts Theatre.

Beaton’s advice to all would-be entrants, is: “Use the work you are most proud of, not what you think other people will like. If you are proud of it, and you genuinely believe it’s a good piece of work that meets the criteria, then it probably is. It is really important that the judges see you and your design in its best light (pun absolutely intended!). Design is such a personal thing and this is a perfect example to show off your style and the work you believe shows you at your finest.”

Alongside fellow winners from 2016, Sana Yamaguchi and Jai Morjaria, Beaton has formed the ALD Student Working Group which has been working tirelessly to address the gap between students, recent graduates, and established lighting professionals. The broader scope of this year’s awards has been instituted directly in response to the group’s research. The group’s aim is to invigorate the next generation of theatre practitioners by informing them of job prospects via the traditional apprenticeships that some venues/companies still offer as well as through colleges and universities.

The 2017 ALD Michael Northen Awards are:

The Michael Northen Award – named in honour of the first credited lighting designer in the UK and his work on “The Mousetrap” which can still be seen in London’s West End today. The winning lighting designer of this award will be presented with a cheque for £500 and a copy of Michael’s book, “Northen Lights”.

The ETC Award – ETC (Electronic Theatre Controls), specialists in lighting solutions and control equipment for theatre, film and TV studios, architectural spaces as well as entertainment industries, sponsors the £250 award for excellence in lighting design.

The Francis Reid Award – Reid was a founding member of the Association, playing a key role in establishing the practice of stage lighting design and the role of the lighting designer in the UK. He was described as “a theatre-maker who did lighting, rather than a lighting man who did theatre”. The lighting designer who receives this prize will be presented with a cheque for £250.

New for 2017: Excellence in Video Design – In addition to the above award for lighting design, this award will be presented to a video designer working in live performance who will receive £250.

Submissions are deliberated over by a panel of esteemed judges before the deserving winners are decided upon. The winning applicants will be presented with their awards at the annual Lighting Lunch held in London in December 2017.

The full criteria, including checklists, for submission to each award can be found on the ALD website:

The awards are open now and all submissions must be received before the closing date, Tuesday 31st October at 9am. 

In picture: The 2016 Michael Award winners, Sana Yamaguchi, the ALD’s Sean Gleason, Rory Beaton, Jai Morjaria, lighting designer Prema Mehta, and Mark Jonathan, deputy chairman of the ALD.

4th July 2017

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