Stage Lighting Basics

This page pulls together some of the key basics of stage lighting and some of the best content on the web at the moment for learning stage lighting.

Steve Shelley Stage Lighting Book Third Edition
Steven Shelley’s Stage Lighting Book 3rd Edition

Stage Lighting Terms and General

Terms and general all-in-one stage lighting basics material.

Salzburg’s Glossary of stage lighting terms.

Larry Wild’s comprehensive class notes on everything stage lighting.

On Stage Lighting Guide To Lampie Slang A look at some of the common slang we use in the professional stage lighting industry, particularly in the UK.

Little Theatre Lighting Handbook in PDF format.

Bill Williams‘ Stage Lighting Introduction

Stage Lighting Equipment

Even simple stage lighting systems contain a certain amount of equipment.  Learning the creative and technical uses for all this can be daunting.  Here are some of our favourite resources to help you with the basics.

Stage Lighting Guide website – good for the basics.

VLS basic guide, including equipment.
A useful slideshow covering the key elements:

Theatrical Design’s Basics Video Playlist on YouTube:

Stage Lighting Design

The creative side of stage lighting is lighting design, usually the role of the Lighting Designer.  The Lighting Designer brings together the artistic use of light and the technical facilities available to create the final look on stage.  Here are some of our favourite ways to get understand stage lighting design.

On Stage Lighting – Your First Lighting Design

On Stage Lighting – Rules of Stage Lighting Design

Stage Lighting Angles Explained – Church Tech Arts

Whitfield’s Steps for Lighting Design in PDF

YouTube video on the basic positions – the intro is waayyyy too long!

Lighting Systems

On Stage Lighting – Anatomy of Stage Lighting System

Planning and Communication

Stage Lighting Plan Basics – On Stage Lighting

Theatrecraft guide to the basics of stage lighting communication paperwork.

The Lighting Archive – including an interactive package of stage lighting paperwork.

Examples of lighting plans from history at the New York Library Theatrical Lighting Database

Lighting Control

Lighting Control Basics Guides – On Stage Lighting

National Theatre’s Stage Lighting Playlist on YouTube, including videos on the lighting control roles:

DMX Stage Lighting Control basics video on YouTube: