Lighting Up the Night: Theatre Lighting Design Alumni Honored
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Anjeanette Stokes and David Atkinson, both graduates of Ohio State’s Department of Theatre’s lighting design program, recently received a “2010 Excellence in Live Design Award” from Live Design.
The duo was part of a six-member team assembled by New York design firm, Michael Riotto Design that created the lighting design for “Blaze,” a dance nightclub.
What makes “Blaze Nightclub” unusual is its location—on board Royal Caribbean’s newest and the world’s largest cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas.
“Blaze Nightclub” was my first project assignment at MRD in 2008,” said Stokes, the team’s associate lighting designer, who’d been freelancing in New York City since completing her MFA in 2005.
The team faced immediate challenges in this high-profile project. “The shape of the room was an oval, so we knew a typical lighting grid wouldn’t work,” Stokes said. “Originally the club was to be two ship decks high, but with revisions was reduced to one.”
Less than a year into the project, Stokes suggested hiring David Atkinson, who received his BA in 2004. “The team needed someone with a good lighting, electrical, programming, and software development background,” said Stokes.
Atkinson did some traveling as part of his work. “Most of my time on the project was spent in Turku, Finland, where the shipyard is,” said Atkinson. ”As project manager, I helped supervise installation and programming of the six entertainment spaces we designed.”
Atkinson has both Columbus and Ohio State roots. His father, Charles Atkinson, is a professor of musicology in the School of Music; his mother, Gretchen, is Scores Cataloger in the Music and Dance Library.
Stokes and Atkinson are now back on land involved in some new projects, one of which is working on designs to re-light Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. On a recent trip there, they explored the caves and inspected existing lighting.
“It’s been exciting,” Stokes said, “to learn about how light affects the natural elements. “We are really looking forward to enhancing the cave experience, while being responsible and respectful of the delicate environment.”
The third annual Excellence in Live Design Awards, gives industry professionals the opportunity to be recognized by their peers. This year’s award winners were announced in May.