Lights-Out Stage Lighting Training, a collaboration of Afrotopia and Zimbabwe’s seasoned stage lighting designer Mildred Moyo of Phenomenal Lighting with support from the British Council was an amazing opportunity for creatives to hone their skills in stage lighting. Held over two days, participants were equipped with enough knowledge to design, set up, program and run shows in any theater, event and performance space.
By Fadzai Mathabire
They also got the chance to put these skills into practice by designing and setting up the lighting for a cocktail event and stage performances. It was great to see all of the participants engaged in the workshop and excited to share their work with each other.
The project was imagined during Covid-19 when there were not so many opportunities for artists to create and showcase their work. Like most people around the globe, Mildred experienced depression at its peak but didn’t allow it to get the best of her. Instead, she allowed herself to dream and explore beyond her comfort zone. “It was pitch black in my life at that point and then I told myself, let’s go back to the beginning where there are no lights then we can talk about life and light from that perspective.” She explained on the last day of the workshop. She started online masterclasses to cater for aspiring stage lighting designers in need of professional training yet there are no platforms for them.
During the online masterclasses she featured prominent stage lighting designers from various countries including Patrick Woodroffe whose work includes lighting events for Elton John, Bob Dylan and the Royal Queen of England herself. From there, phenomenal lighting progressed to in person workshops despite not having any funding at all. The first one was done in Bulawayo which is Mildred’s home town. To date, they have done workshops in Bulawayo, Mutare and Harare at Bulawayo Theatre, Courtauld Theatre and Music Crossroads respectively.
The recent Lights Out workshop held at Afrotopia in Harare was the fourth of a series. It was an eye opening experience not only for lighting fanatics but for all creatives alike as it contained basic information necessary for artists, especially those who intend to take up international stage performances. Artists had eureka moments as they finally understood how they can use light to enhance their overall performance by aligning it to sound and costumes.
The British Council representative Chipo commended their continued support towards the creative work of young people as she said
“they still have a lot to discover and they also need space and opportunities’. She highlighted the importance of creative enterprise which is what Mildred is driving with phenomenal lighting. She is working towards her first book and her dream is to birth the first lighting academy in Zimbabwe. She promises to spread the art of light by transferring skills and knowledge to all aspiring lighting designers across the country before she leaves to pursue a Masters Degree in Stage Lighting on a global scholarship at the Rose Bruford College of Theatre & Performance for lighting and stagecraft.
The team at Phenomenal lighting is very passionate about their work and strives to provide the best possible training to aspired lighting designers. Follow them on social media to stay up-to-date on their latest news and events.
Participants gather around to discuss the lighting set for the night’s event
Mildred Moyo demonstrating on the effects of light