Talks – September 2016

Inventing the Future: The Story of the National Theatre’s Lightboard

Rob Halliday
18 September 2016


For the opening of Britain’s National Theatre in 1976, theatre consultant Richard Pilbrow specified a new kind of lighting control, capable of dealing with 800 dimmers, moving lights, colour changers, projection and more, offering powerful tools for mixing and balancing lighting and creating cues with complex timing. Achieving all of this with the computer technology of the day was only borderline possible – but a brilliant team from Strand, nominated for this year’s Gottelier award, ultimately succeeded in creating Lightboard – a console that was such a remarkable advance that some of its functionality is not matched even in the very latest lighting controls of today. Lighting designer and Classic Gear author Rob Halliday tells the story of the specification, creation and use of this remarkable machine – supported by members of the teams who made it, used it, and with an appearance from Lightboard itself, recently recovered by the Backstage Heritage Collection.


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