Research project

”Fading Lights” by Anders Larsson

Researcher: Anders Larsson

“Fading Lights – cross over from candle to LED” is a research project by Anders Larsson, Assistant lecturer of Technical Theatre.

We want to develop an overview of historic lighting practice from a technical and design point of view. Within this overview, we look for missing links and try to debunk myths, based on information from different fields and practical testing. The experience with the artistic development project "Changement a vue" makes us confident that looking from a technical, practical angle creates new insights in the artistic domain as well. When the developed insights prove to be correct, even when confronted with other related fields (set, wig, costume) they become applicable for contemporary use.

Aim and research questions

To be able to obtain an insight in historic lighting performance, following questions need to be answered: o What were the physical means and circumstances of historic performance in different timeframes? o Can we define milestones and/or turning points in lighting design based on technological development? On performance development? And do these milestones fit traditional historical timeframes? The importance and relevance of these questions go back to the question of why we teach history. The understanding of history and heritage is fundamental for understanding the "now" and building the future. Looking from a historic perspective is inspirational for new design insights and helps understanding the quality of light in contemporary use.

Research implementation and anticipated impact

In the first phase of desk and field research for this project, we focus on equipment, fixtures, physical setup (how and where are the fixtures placed), control (what was controllable and how) and how this relates / influences performance. This is done by gathering existing knowledge and insights and building a virtual library. The second phase is based on research by doing with continued desk research and field research, looking for traces and clues, talking to practitioners, and looking into performance practice. We will try out different methods by reproducing the original setups, first with scale elements, later full size, and finally the implementation in performance.


Chris Van Goethem (TEAD, Expertise Centre Technical Theatre).


Start (2017/10/01) Final report (2019/12/30)