Instructor: Heath Hansum

Course Purpose:

  1. To create or improve students' awareness and respect for theatrical lighting design, procedures, and techniques and primarily to discover the many ways that lighting has become an integral part design tool in the Theatre and entertainment industry.
  2. To introduce the students to particular equipment and facilities available in Powers and Tustin theatres.
  3. To improve the students' ability to conceptualize design ideas and communicate them to the production team clearly using verbal and visual means.

Course Objective

This course is intended to instill the confidence and basic knowledge necessary to function in many different environments including but not limited to the facilities in Powers and Tustin theatres. The course is intended to create a pool of capable students interested in designing, safely rigging and operating lights for various productions with minimal supervision.

Expected Results of the Course

Upon completion of the course the student should be able to:

  1. Understand the function of lighting within a production team, I.E. script reading and notation, design meetings, production meetings, rehearsals.
  2. Communicate design ideas verbally and visually
  3. Understand basic electrical theory
  4. Utilize light by means of color, intensity, direction and focus
  5. Draft Light plots and sections using U.S.I.T.T. graphic standards
  6. Research historical periods and lighting environments
  7. Understand and use computer and manual lighting control boards
  8. Safely and efficiently rig from a lighting plot
  9. Create supporting paperwork including magic sheets, instrument schedules and hookups
  10. Identify most types of lighting instruments, electrical cable, connectors and lamps

Methods of Instruction

Classroom discussion / lecture followed by hands-on demonstration / usage of current subject matter.


Designing with Light, 3rd ed. Michael Gillette

Assignments / Grading

  1. Several brief quizzes on recent topics discussed in class.
  2. Several projects demonstrating design approaches and concepts and an understanding of the procedures, methods and equipment presented in class.
  3. The grading breaks down as follows:
    • Quiz 1 10%
    • Quiz 2 10%
    • Quiz 3 10%
    • Class Projects 15%
    • Final - 20%
    • Final Project15%
  4. Three (3) unexcused absences will result in a lower grade by one letter.
    Six (6) unexcused absences will result in a lower grade by an additional letter.
    Nine (9) Forget it.

Course Meetings

  1. Twenty-seven (27) class meetings + one (1) final exam period.
  2. Approximately one (1) topic covered in class per period followed by practical discussion of equipment, techniques and discussions of design aesthetics and concepts.
  3. Field trips and professional visitors will augment classroom discussion whenever available and appropriate.
  4. There is a 12 hour lab requirement for this course. I suggest you spend them at light rigs and strikes. Otherwise -instrument maintenance!
  5. Everyone is required to attend the mainstage Theatre and Dance performances during the semester.

Course Requirements

Everyone should work on the mainstage production light rigs and strikes. They are scheduled as follows.

  • Drums In the Night
    Saturday January 30 9am - 5pm Tustin Studio Theatre (light rig)
    Monday Feb 15th 9:30 pm Tustin Studio Theatre (strike)
  • Merrily We Roll Along
    Saturday March 20th 9am - 5pm University Theatre (light rig)
    Monday April 10 10:00pmUniversity Theatre (strike)

Recommended Tools / Reading


  1. 0.5mm mechanical pencil 2H . 0.7mm mechanical pencil 2B (Required)
  2. architect's tri-scale (Required)
  3. Adjustable wrench on lanyard (Required)
  4. Mini Mag flashlight
  5. Multipurpose tool (Leatherman or Gerber tool)


  1. Lighting Dimensions - lighting magazine
  2. Backstage Handbook - Paul Carter
  3. Hyperlight - Created by Heath Hansum and Rich Dionne
  4. Photometrics Handbook - Robert C. Mumm