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In New York City, there’s a long strip of a street which people fondly call the “Great White Way.” The area covers the 42nd to 53rd street of the Broadway, also known as the Theatre District. The Great White Way got its name for being one of the first few roads in the US lighted with electric lights.

Today, this portion of the Broadway is just as bright and merry given the numerous billboards and commercial signage illuminated with modern lighting technology.

But perhaps the best part of the Broadway is the Broadway itself where people get to watch theatrical productions. The Broadway has become an integral part of the New York culture so much that it has become home to several Broadway houses and Theatre schools

Thaca College Theatre Arts

For aspiring theatre workers, whether it is to become an actor, director, writer or lighting director, the Ithaca College Theatre Arts is a premium destination. In a blog for The Broadway World, Breana McGlocking recounts her experience and learnings in lighting design from the Ithaca College.

According to McGlocking, the entire production is a creative process where every single element and function must collaborate to achieve the desired outcome. For her, a successful production is not only about focusing on your area of work or expertise. Instead, one needs to work with all the other creative and technical components to come up with the whole project.

As a lighting designer, McGlocking has worked on various productions in the Ithaca College Theatre Arts, including Hysterical Creatures and Angels In America Part 1: Millenium Approaches. In all productions, it’s hard to undermine the fact that lighting is a crucial element for their success.

Importance of Lighting in Stage Productions

Just like how your modern nightstand lamp lights up your side of the bed for illumination, the stage lighting’s first purpose is also to make the production visible. Without lights, the audience would be unable to see the set-up and the performers.

The second important role of lighting in a theatrical production is mood-setting. Lighting design works for hand in hand with the set-up, script, sound and all the other elements of the overall production.

Lighting sets the tone of that particular act and helps convey the message more effectively. For instance, if a particular scene is about grief, dimmed light and shadows help set the tone.

Meanwhile, fun and victorious scenes need a brighter and perhaps more colorful lighting.

Lighting is also used to determine emphasis. When the script calls for the focus on a particular actor or performer, the light is directed at him, while the surrounding performers fade into total or semi-darkness. The audience focuses on this actor at that given moment. Light is a vital production element that many experts consider it as the unifying force for a stage performance.


Light has always been an essential resource for daily living, but using light in a theatrical or stage performance is both a technical and creative consideration. It’s one element that the audience may not immediately appreciate, but it’s worth considering that any stage production would be unsuccessful without proper lighting design.

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