ETC Selador helps people with special needs light their words at the Young Vic

Date Posted: 10/23/2014

ETC Selador Classic LED luminaires illuminate the Taking Part program at London's Young Vic theater; photo © Helen Murray

ETC's Selador® Classic™ LED luminaires were used on two productions at London's Young Vic theater done by people recovering from addictions and young people with special needs participating in the Taking Part program.

For every production that the Young Vic programs in its main space, the Taking Part department creates another in response, exploring some of the ideas in the main production and in which the local community can take part. Production Manager Anthony Newton worked with Taking Part Technician Nick Slater on Base Camp and The Sound of Yellow , which were based on The Valley of Astonishment , a play that focuses on the phenomenon of synesthesia: where people can experience things - words, thoughts or even music - as sensory stimulations or as colors.

Slater explains: "For Base Camp, which was with the young people with special needs, we used an eight-square-meter [86-square-foot] white tent set up in one of our small theaters, and illuminated it all the way round with the Selador Classic battens hired from Sparks Theatrical, controlled from our ETC Ion lighting desk . The fixtures were amazing in flooding the space with color, while not adding to the temperature, keeping the performers cool."

ETC Selador Classic LED luminaires illuminate the Taking Part program at London's Young Vic theater; photo © Helen Murray

Theater company Parrot in the Tank performed with young people on the show, which saw everyone going on a 'camping expedition to the Arctic,' which entailed stunning aurora borealis visual effects, as well as bright blues for the skies.

There were several scenarios set up, such as when a tent was given personality with a beady-eye torch light, or balloons appeared from smaller tents and the young people had to keep them from touching the floor. During these parts of the play, the environment changed through a range of different colors, assisting the narrative and creating atmosphere.

For the second show, The Sound of Yellow - which was made with people recovering from addictions - the tent was used as "a sort of lightbox," explains Newton. "It was more clinical - think of a forensic tent at a crime scene." The story was of an airplane journey, with the Selador fixtures used to create the lighting one might see on a journey. 

Slater comments: "Because of how versatile the fixtures are, they really helped the performers interact with the pieces. There was one section of Base Camp where we got the young people to lie down on the floor and played them certain lights and colors, and asked the children what it reminded them of."

Photos © Helen Murray