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Designers – Sign up to By Design Day 2012

By Design Day, the annual fundraising day for Light Relief in the UK and Behind the Scenes in the US and Canada, takes place this year on Tuesday April 24 on both sides of the Atlantic.

By Design Day 2012The main fundraising event for these charities, By Design Day focuses attention on the various ways that individuals can support the two organisations that are dedicated solely to helping entertainment technology professionals in need. Many make personal donations, some hold collections at their places of work and often designers support the day by voluntarily giving a day’s royalties to one or both of these charities. Light Relief assists those involved in the UK lighting industry while Behind the Scenes aids professionals based in the US and Canada working in any area of the entertainment technology industry.

By Design Day 2012 has the full backing of a host of award-winning designers, including Neil Austin, Ken Billington, Paule Constable, Wendall Harrington, Howard Harrison, Don Holder, David Korins, Scott Lehrer, Ken Posner, Jennifer Tipton and Hugh Vanstone, along with Light Relief’s co-founder, Rick Fisher.

Light Relief Day was first organised in the UK five years ago to honour the memory of the charity’s founder Tony Gottelier and quickly gained support. Two years later the US and Canada joined in, to raise funds for Behind the Scenes. Now By Design Day is supported internationally with donations from designers with productions all over the world. To date Light Relief has awarded more than £40,000 in grants to help lighting professionals and their families, while Behind the Scenes has issued over $230,000 in grants to professionals working in all disciplines.

So – put Tuesday 24 April 2012 in your diary – and visit www.lightrelief.org.uk or www.estafoundation.org/bts.htm for more information in due course!

15th February 2011


Sign here for By Design Day 2011!

By Design Day, the joint fundraising day for Light Relief in the UK and Behind the Scenes in the US, is now in its third year and once again the organisers are hoping for a bigger response than ever before.

By Design Day 2011Scheduled this year for Saturday April 23, By Design Day has the full backing of a host of award-winning designers: Neil Austin, Scott Pask, Ken Billington, Howard Harrison, Ken Posner, Paule Constable, Scott Lehrer, Jennifer Tipton, Jonathan Deans, Tony Meola and Hugh Vanstone, along with Light Reliefís co-founder, Rick Fisher.

By Design Day is the chance for all of us in our profession to support two charities dedicated solely to helping entertainment technology professionals in need. You can join your colleagues by making a donation in support of this special day. One way to support the day is by voluntarily giving a day’s royalties to one or both of these charities. Light Relief assists those involved in the UK lighting industry while Behind the Scenes aids professionals based in the US and Canada working in any area of the entertainment technology industry.

Light Relief Day was founded in 2007 in the UK to honour the memory of founder Tony Gottelier and quickly gained support among designers with shows on the West End and on tour, and 2009 was the first year that the U.S. and Canada joined the day to benefit Behind the Scenes. Now the day is supported internationally with donations from designers with productions on all over the world. To date Light Relief has awarded more than £30,000 in grants to help lighting professionals and their families, while Behind the Scenes has issued almost $200,000 in grants to professionals working in all disciplines.

So — put Saturday 23 April 2011 in your diary and click here for more about how you can help.

25th March 2011


3rd Knight of Illumination Awards — and the winners are…

The Knight of Illumination Awards, organized by ALD, STLD and Clay Paky, have now become an unmissable event for the whole show lighting business. They are the only awards, entirely devoted to lighting designers, to provide public recognition of the best works in the theatre, touring and TV sectors.

Knight of Illumination Awards

The final act of the event takes place during the PLASA Show, and gathers together a large number of lighting designers, trade associations, production companies, rental companies, dealers and the press, in other words the leading "players" in the entertainment sector. It is a special occasion for a precious mutual exchange of professional expertise, as well as a time for celebration for lighting designers.

Once again the evening was held in the Enterprise Suite, Hotel Ibis, Earls Court, London, on 12 September 2010. The organizers set up a rig of great scenic effect for the event, mainly using the new Alpha 700 and Alpha 1500 lights.

This year too, the Knight of Illumination Awards were highly successful in terms of participation. They were sponsored by Osram (main sponsor) and fourteen other sector firms: AED, Avolites, Colour Sound Experiment, ELP, Entec Sound & Light, EQ Lighting, Etnow, GLP, Hawthorn, HSL, MA Lighting, Pulsar, Richard Martin Lighting, and White Light. Proudly supported by ABTT, Lighting & Sound International, PLASA, The Theatres Trust and WISE, the Award ceremony played host to nearly 400 highly qualified people in the business.

The chairmen of the lighting designers associations Rick Fisher (ALD) and Stuart Gain (STLD) emphasized this fact: "This year, like never before, we realized just how much the Knight of Illumination Awards are looked forward to and loved by people in the business. Our task actually started several months ago, with the selection of the shows, followed by the assessment of the nominations and, lastly, the choice of winners. This evening is simply the final act of a meticulous and dutiful study of many shows, carried out by panels consisting exclusively of sector professionals in order to guarantee full assessment credibility."

Clay Paky Sales and Marketing Director Pio Nahum was also visibly satisfied: "The event has now entered people’s hearts. We realized this from the ovations the winners received. It was like being at a football stadium. Quite unlike the sober composed atmosphere one might expect!"

The evening started with a welcome aperitif, followed by dinner with live background music and a mix of lighting and video effects to entertain guests pleasantly and gradually involve them emotionally in the atmosphere of the evening.

Paul Ross, the brilliant master of ceremonies, presented the climax of the evening and proclaimed the ten new "Knights of Illumination": four for TV, 3 for the theatre, 2 for Rock and a special lifetime recognition award, chosen from among the 27 nominations by a panel of highly specialized judges coordinated by the two British associations ALD and STLD. Each winner received a prestigious trophy: a replica of a real sword made in Toledo, Spain. The sword is a precious copy of those used by medieval knights,

The fair sex featured highly this year both among the representatives of the associations and winners. The chairpersons were Paule Constable (for the theatre), Sarah Rushton-Reed (for rock) and Ian Dow (for Television), and among the winners there were no less than three ladies including Coral Cooper, winner of the prestigious lifetime recognition award.

The VIPs present at the evening included Roberto Vagni, Economic Attaché at the Italian Embassy in London.

After the awards, there was a short ceremony during which a donation was made to Light Relief, an important non-profit association well known in the show lighting business. Pasquale Quadri, the President of Clay Paky, put the cheque into the hands of Matthew Griffiths, John Simpson, Rick Fisher and Lesley Harmer, trustees of Light Relief, who publicly expressed their appreciation for Clay Paky’s gesture of awareness towards the needy in our sector.

28th October 2010


Advance warning - Light Relief By Design Day 2010 is coming!

Following a hugely successful first joint venture fundraiser this year between Light Relief in the UK and Behind the Scenes in the States, the two charities are doing it again in 2010! And once again they have the full backing of award-winning designers Paule Constable, Ken Billington and Ken Posner, along with Light Relief's co-founder, Rick Fisher.

Established in 2007 as Light Relief Day and now renamed By Design Day, April 24 is the day that, each year, people in the professional <lighting> <design> business give back to help others less fortunate than themselves. The first 'joint venture' between Light Relief and Behind the Scenes raised a staggering £7,500 - £3450 for Light Relief and $5,700 for Behind the Scenes. The money came through a variety of channels, including a bucket collection among the audience of the London production of Hairspray on the day itself - thanks to Show Chief Sara Lunn and Michael Ball!

To make the 2010 event even more successful, the organisers are giving designers on both sides of the Atlantic advance warning of By Design Day 2010 which, as always, is April 24 in honour of the late Tony Gottelier, co-founder of Light Relief. Lighting and other designers are asked to donate their royalties for the day, while others in non-royalty situations give what they are able.

Click here to download a donation form.

8th January 2010


Presenting: SpotTrack

A better way of making followspot cuesheets (and supporting worthy causes!), from the people behind FocusTrack

Designed specifically to do away with the chore of creating a Word or Excel document from scratch in order to manage followspot cue sheets, SpotTrack will manage shows with one to four spots. It makes it easy to, for example, print the cue sheets for each spot without it being full of blank lines occupied by cues for the other spots. SpotTrack also breaks up the cue sheet into scenes or songs, so it's easy for the caller and all of the spot ops to find their place when jumping around the show during technical rehearsals.

Best of all, SpotTrack supports two backstage charities: the program is sold per show (think of it as a consumable, like colour or light bulbs) with each copy costing £45, but with 15% of that going to one of two backstage charities: Light Relief in the UK, or The ESTA Foundation's Behind the Scenes in North America – you get to choose which when you buy SpotTrack.

Creator Rob Halliday said: "Spot calling has always been a hard job - processing lots of information in the fraught period of teching a show, and it's always seemed to me that there should be a tool dedicated to helping with this. I'm hoping that with SpotTrack we've provided such a tool, useful not only to those in tech and calling shows on tour, but also to those needing the support of the two fantastic industry charities to which SpotTrack will be contributing."

"This useful new tool will not only help light the stars but help those who light the stars!" notes award-winning lighting designer Rick Fisher, co-founder of Light Relief. "By supporting Light Relief and Behind the Scenes, SpotTrack can bring some light to those most in need in our industry."

To find out more about SpotTrack and all the other clever things it does, like reducing the amount of typing required, and providing a home for lots more information than just the spot cues themselves, go to www.spottrack.co.uk. You'll also be able to download a demo mode for testing!

5th October 2009


Rosco's gift that keeps on giving

Since 2003, when Rosco introduced #313 Light Relief Yellow to its Supergel range, the company has contributed thousands of dollars to the UK charity Light Relief, and at PLASA/09 one of the charity's trustees, John Simpson, accepted a cheque for over $4,100 (approximately £2,500).

Making the presentation, Mark Engel, President of Rosco, said: "This is the largest cheque we have presented to Light Relief since the program began, with total contributions now in excess of $19,000, funded totally by purchases of #313 Supergel. We knew this would be 'a gift that keeps on giving' but I don't think we ever anticipated just how successful it would be!"

Picture: Mark Engel, president, Rosco (left) and John Simpson, Light Relief trustee and chairman of White Light.

Picture credit: Lighting&Sound International

Developed with the help of Rick Fisher, co-founder (along with the late Tony Gottelier) of the industry charity which supports lighting designers in difficult times, Light Relief Yellow is the vibrant, sunshine colour of the charity's logo.

"While one-off donations are extremely welcome, it's regular donations such as this that enable us to make immediate decisions as to how we are able to help those in need," said John, who is also chairman of White Light. "It is wonderful that the charity is supported by such unending contributions: this not only reminds users of Light Relief, but also of Rosco's creative generosity every time the colour is specified."

21st September 2009


ETC's new iPhone app gives some Light Relief

When ETC introduced its iRFR (Radio Focus Remote for iPhone and iPod Touch) four months ago, Luke Delwiche from ETC Tech Services in London suggested that the profits be shared between Light Relief and its US equivalent, Behind the Scenes. At PLASA/09, Luke was delighted to present a cheque for £1,800 to Light Relief trustee Lesley Harmer. In thanking Luke for the money, Lesley said: "This is an incredible amount of money to raise in just four months. We thank Luke and everyone at ETC for their generosity, and for a brilliant idea which will continue to raise money for this worthwhile cause year after year."

When users purchase the iRFR application from the iTunes store, they designate the charity of their choice. The Light Relief or Behind the Scenes logo then appears as the iRFR start screen. ETC Software Engineer Chris Mizerak developed the application with a view to making it as user-friendly and direct as any Apple application, with added peace of mind, as full security controls to lock out all unauthorised users.

Because the iRFR application is purchased through iTunes for iPhones and iPod Touches that people already own, they install it and have it immediately – no hardware or special factory-coding required. And an added benefit: if you misplace your lighting-system remote – just call your phone and find it!

For more information on ETC and its products, please visit www.etcconnect.com

21st September 2009


The industry honours Light Relief

Light Relief was delighted to receive two significant donations during PLASA09, one from PLASA itself and the other from Clay Paky.

Pasquale Quadri, President of Clay Paky, presented a generous £3,000 cheque to trustees Matthew Griffiths, Lesley Harmer, Rick Fisher and John Simpson during the annual Knight of Illumination Awards. Promoted and organised by Clay Paky in collaboration with the ALD and STLD, the Awards recognise lighting designers and professionals across the industry. Held on the Sunday night of PLASA, the 2009 Awards were presented in front of a 350-strong audience made up of lighting designers, manufacturers, rental companies, dealers, trade associations and specialist media.

At another Awards presentation, this time the 2009 PLASA Awards for Innovation, which were presented to a packed audience in Earls Court on September 14, Matthew Griffiths, managing director of PLASA, presented a cheque for £6,000 to trustees Rick Fisher and John Simpson. PLASA uses the occasion every year to make donations to three charities, with some of the money coming from the entry fees for the Awards themselves. The other recipients in 2009 were America's Behind the Scenes, a charity similar to Light Relief, and Beechwood Cancer Care, in memory of David Hopkins OBE, the longest serving member of PLASA's Executive Committee, who passed away in August.

17th September 2009


Record support for international Light Relief Day 2009

With just days to go to Light Relief and Behind the Scenes By Design Day on April 24, it's not too late to join the host of international designers who have come together to raise money for these two industry charities. This year, for the first time, Light Relief is joined by the US and Canadian charity, Behind the Scenes, resulting in a record number of designers donating their day's royalties, plus many leading lighting designers and others in the industry are giving individual donations.

Already pledging to donate their royalties for April 24 are the lighting designers of some 40 international shows, many of them - like Howard Harrison's Mamma Mia! and Mary Poppins - in several different productions. Joining Rick Fisher, Ken Billington and Ken Posner, the day's co-sponsors, are Neil Austin, donating his royalties from the Frost/Nixon US tour; Mike Baldassari with Beauty and the Beast (Barcelona and Moscow), Neil Young, Chrome Dreams (North American Tour); Jon Clark, Three Days of Rain; Paule Constable, Oliver, War Horse; Chris Davey, Measure for Measure tour; Howard Harrison, all productions of Mamma Mia! and Mary Poppins; Don Holder, Lion King and others; David Howe, Singing in the Rain, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Little Shop of Horrors UK tours, Rocky Horror Picture Show European tour and The Norman Conquests (NYC); Natasha Katz, Sister Act; Tim Mascal, Derren Brown, Stones in his Pocket (tours); Matthew McCarthy for Blue Man Group, New York, Chicago and Boston; Paul Miller for tours of Hairspray, Legally Blonde, Rent and Sweeney Todd; Brian Monahan, Drowsy Chaperone (tour); Peter Mumford, View from the Bridge, Carousel; Peter Nigrini, 9 to 5 The Musical; Paul Pyant, Waiting For Godot tour; Enjoy; Nick Richings, La Cage Aux Folles; Malcolm Rippeth, Calendar Girls, Brief Encounter, His Dark Materials tours; Nick Schlieper, Priscilla Queen of The Desert; Kevin Sleep, Woman in Black; Hugh Vanstone, Boeing Boeing, God of Carnage UK tours, God of Carnage, Shrek, Mary Stuart (all NYC); Willie Williams, We will Rock You; James Whiteside, Never Forget: and Ann Wrightson for August: Osage County (Broadway).

Rick Fisher, who instigated Light Relief Day in 2007 in honour of the late Tony Gottelier, co-founder of Light Relief, said: "The link with Behind The Scenes has given the day a much higher profile and as a result we have a record number of designers joining in the fund raising. Anyone who has links with the industry is welcome to join us, including rental companies and other suppliers."

Now, more than ever, there are people in our industry who have the added burden of serious injury or illness and who turn to Light Relief or Behind The Scenes for support. To find out how you can help by donating your royalties for April 24 (even if you join our gang after the day!), and to read about the original idea from Rick, Ken and Ken, visit www.lightrelief.org.uk or www.estafoundation.org/bts

Light Relief helps British theatre lighting designers and those working in the field who are not in regular full time employment. Behind the Scenes, a program of The ESTA Foundation, serves entertainment technology and design professionals residing in the U.S. and Canada working in any discipline either directly backstage or behind the camera, or for the companies supplying products and services to the industry.

21st April 2009


Hands across the water

In a unique coming together of UK and US charities Light Relief and Behind the Scenes, on April 24 this year designers on both sides of the Atlantic will be donating their royalties to help their colleagues in need.

A regular event in the UK, Light Relief Day was started by Rick Fisher in memory of the charity's co-founder, Tony Gottelier. Now Rick and other leading designers Ken Billington and Ken Posner, all of whom have shows currently running on both Broadway and in the West End, have taken the bold step to make this an international event.

If you're involved with a show, whether it's in London, New York, in your hometown or on the road, you can join them in helping to make April 24 the day our industry comes together to celebrate its successes and to give back in thanks. By donating your royalties for just one day, you will be supporting these two organizations which provide financial assistance to industry members who are seriously ill or injured, or to their surviving family.

Even if you don't get a royalty, you can still join in the celebrations! Be creative - take up a collection backstage, raffle tickets to the show, sell autographed programs. Add your name and that of your show to the list of those who have stepped up to care for their own in times of need.

Light Relief was formed specifically to help British theatre lighting designers and those working in the field who are not in regular full time employment by providing either practical support or financial assistance. Emulating their model of a charity established by and for the industry, The ESTA Foundation created Behind the Scenes which serves entertainment technology professionals residing in the U.S. and Canada working in any discipline either directly backstage or behind the camera, or for the companies supplying products and services to the industry.

26th January 2009


Light Relief benefits once again from Rosco Supergel

In 2003, Rosco introduced a new colour to its Supergel range to raise funds for the UK charity Light Relief. Gratifyingly, #313 Light Relief Yellow has proved a popular colour and at PLASA 2008 Light Relief trustee and PLASA managing director, Matthew Griffiths accepted a cheque for almost $3,700 (£2,100).

Light Relief benefits once again from Rosco Supergel

Making the presentation, Mark Engel, President of Rosco, said: "This is the fourth year we've been able to support Light Relief with a cheque at PLASA. Our contribution to date now exceeds $15,000 and has been funded by purchases of #313 Supergel. We envisioned this arrangement as 'a gift that keeps on giving' and we're delighted that it continues to fulfil that promise."

Developed with the help of Rick Fisher, co-founder (along with the late Tony Gottelier) of the industry charity which supports lighting designers in difficult times, Light Relief Yellow is the vibrant, sunshine colour of the charity's logo.

"Light Relief is very grateful for the ongoing support that this scheme provides. Light Relief is there to provide practical assistance to those in the lighting industry who fall on hard times, and knowing that we have regular donations such as this makes a huge difference," said Matthew Griffiths. "It is wonderful that the charity is supported by such unending contributions and particularly reminds users of Light Relief and also Rosco's creative generosity every time the colour is specified."

14th September 2008


Light Relief Day aims to top £5,000

With many lighting designers already giving their support, the second annual Light Relief Day, which this year takes place on Thursday April 24, looks set to top the £5000 raised in 2007.

Already pledging to donate their royalties for April 24 to Light Relief are the lighting designers of many shows, including a couple of overseas productions: Paule Constable, The City at Royal Court Theatre, Chris Davey, (no specific show); Rick Fisher, Billy Elliot UK and Australia; Rob Halliday, Equus UK tour and My Fair Lady US tour; Paul Pyant, Lord of the Rings; Malcolm Rippeth, Brief Encounter; Ian Scott, 39 Steps; Kevin Sleep, Woman in Black, James Whiteside for The Wedding Singer tour and Never Forget, donated in advance of its West End premiere in May; and Willie Williams, We Will Rock You, UK and French and Saunders Live Tour. Thanks to all these for their early commitment - it is hoped that more will join as Light Relief Day gets closer.

Light Relief Day was instigated by Rick Fisher in honour of the late Tony Gottelier as a permanent way of remembering him. As well as lighting designers, Rick hopes that more people and organisations will come on board this year, saying: "The first Light Relief Day in 2007 was a huge success and demonstrated how lighting designers are fully behind Tony's idea of having a fund to help members of the industry. It would be great if, say, the rental companies would climb on board, as well as more designers and suppliers."

Tony Gottelier was instrumental in setting up Light Relief, which aims to help lighting industry professionals in times of extreme hardship. Rick, who as well as being a co founder of the charity is also chairman of the Association of Lighting Designers (ALD), says: "Like most freelance people, lighting designers and technicians only earn when they are actually working. So if, say, a family crisis prevents someone working, they lose their income - but usually can't claim on insurance.

"Tony was universally respected in the lighting arena, and we thought it fitting that we dedicate a day to him, so that people can show their support to others in the industry. Many of us have done well out of our profession, and it's only right that we put some of that aside to help others."

Any individuals who support Light Relief Day can make full use of their donation by Gift Aiding their contribution, enabling Light Relief to claim an extra 28% in tax relief.

Rick concludes: "Last year proved what we are capable of - let's go all out to make Light Relief Day 2008 an even bigger success!"

23rd April 2008


ETC commits to Light Relief

ETC has supported the fund raising efforts of Light Relief since it was formed in 2001, making many donations over the years. Now the company's UK office has pledged ongoing support for the charity over the next five years, with five annual donations totalling £12,500.

ETC commits to Light Relief

Presenting the first £2,500 cheque to trustee Matthew Griffiths at the ETC / ABTT Christmas party on December 14, Fred Foster, CEO of ETC, said: "Our industry would not exist without its many freelance lighting designers and technicians. Light Relief has already provided much needed practical and financial help to many of our colleagues and I am delighted that ETC can enable it to continue this fine program."

Thanking Fred on behalf of Light Relief, Matthew, who is also managing director of PLASA, said: "Light Relief assists freelancers in our industry who need immediate assistance in times of crisis. One-off donations are always welcome of course, but this kind of ongoing support is not only very generous of ETC but demonstrates that key players in the industry are behind us 100%."

Like most freelance people, lighting designers and technicians only earn when they are actually working. So if, say, someone has to take time off to look after a family member, they lose their income, but usually can't claim on insurance. Light Relief was set up to help in circumstances such as this, providing short term help to individuals and families through times of crisis. If you, or anyone you know, needs help, contact Light Relief trustees at www.lightrelief.org.uk.

10th January 2008


Rosco brings more relief to lighting charity at PLASA 2007

Plasa 2007When Rosco launched #313 Light Relief Yellow Supergel filter in 2003, the hope was that the colour would provide the Light Relief charity with a steady income from its sale for years to come.

Developed with the help of Rick Fisher, co-founder (along with the late Tony Gottelier) of the industry charity which supports lighting designers in difficult times, Light Relief Yellow is a vibrant colour, suitable for raising awareness of the charity.

Since committing to this program, Rosco has presented Light Relief with an annual donation based on the sales of #313. At PLASA '07, Rosco's President Stan Miller presented Light Relief with a check for $3,172 bringing the total to date over $10,000.

"What has been remarkable about Rosco is the continuing nature of its support for this charity, which is there to provide practical assistance to those in the lighting industry who fall on hard times," says Rick Fisher. "It is wonderful that the charity is supported by such unending contributions and particularly reminds users of Light Relief and Rosco's creative generosity every time the colour is specified."

Stan Miller added, "From the beginning we saw the development of a unique colour as representative of the effort of those supporting this worthwhile effort. We are delighted that this is truly a 'gift that keeps on giving' and we will be back next year and for many years to come."

17th September 2007


Light Relief - immediate stress buster

"One day I was working on Starlight Express in Edinburgh, the next I was in hospital with the prospect of being unable to work for many weeks." Chris Luscombe is a freelance production electrician, who is now singing the praises of Light Relief for its support during an extremely lean time.

The injury wasn't even work related - Chris was walking down some steps when he twisted his ankle, to be told in hospital that he had both fractured and dislocated it. Initially he was told he wouldn't be able to work for five to six weeks, but he soon found out that his job meant he would actually be off work for 14 weeks. Chris's wife works for him, looking after the administration side of the business, so no work meant no income at all.

Chris said: "We have two young children, a mortgage, lease on a car - all the usual trappings - so it was all a real shock. I had a small insurance policy, but the payout fell way short of what I needed, covering only about half of our regular outgoings. I knew of Light Relief but was hesitant about contacting them, even though I was really stressed about how we were going to cope, until one of my colleagues spurred me on."

"The trustees at Light Relief were brilliant. I knew the charity wouldn't be a continual source of funds, but they awarded me 50% of my outgoings on my mortgage and the car for two months, which made such a difference. I was able to afford some private physiotherapy treatment, which actually got me back to work a good four weeks earlier than anticipated."

Having suffered his accident on April 30, Chris didn't start work again until August 12, catching up with Starlight Express in Bradford! He continues: "After such a long break, I'm only just getting back up to speed and start work on Hairspray next week. The support from the industry has been tremendous and once we get back on our feet, I am certainly going to give something back to Light Relief. It was fantastic."

31st August 2007


Tony Gottelier honoured in Light Relief fundraising bid

What do Billy Elliot!, Mamma Mia, Chicago, We Will Rock You, Guys and Dolls, Spamalot, Evita, Les Miserables and Boeing, Boeing have in common? Easy - the lighting designers of these and many other shows will be donating a day's royalties to Light Relief on Light Relief Day, 24 April.

Light Relief Day is held in honour of the late Tony Gottelier, and is the brainchild of lighting designer Rick Fisher, who wanted a permanent way of remembering Tony.

Tony was instrumental in setting up the charity, which aims to help lighting industry professionals in times of extreme hardship. Rick, who as well as being a co founder of the charity is also chairman of the Association of Lighting Designers (ALD), says: "Like most freelance people, lighting designers and technicians only earn when they are actually working. So if, say, someone has to take time off to look after a family member, they lose their income - but usually can't claim on insurance."

Paule Constable is a freelance lighting designer with two children, who was helped a few years ago by Light Relief. She says: "My partner, a freelance in the theatre industry, injured his back and was hospitalised for five months. We were thrown into a situation where he could neither care for the children nor earn any money. I had to continue to work in order to support us, but couldn't afford to pay for the vital child care to allow me to do this. I used up all the savings and favours that I could - when I ran out of both, Light Relief stepped in to help me with my child care costs. I was absolutely desperate and have no idea what I would have done without this help."

"Tony was universally respected in the lighting arena," continues Rick, "and we thought it fitting that we dedicate a day to him, so that people can show their support to others in the industry. Many of us have done well out of our profession, and it's only right that we put some of that aside to help others."

Many LDs have already pledged their support - including the LDs of most West End shows - and other people and businesses in the industry are invited to participate as well. By Gift Aiding their contribution, Light Relief is also able to claim an extra 28% in tax relief.

Rick concludes: "Let's use all the incredible creativity in the lighting world to make the first Light Relief Day a big success!"

1st March 2007


White Light Donation

White Light DonationLeading entertainment lighting supplier White Light has this year chosen a different approach to marking Christmas: instead of sending out Christmas cards to customers, the company has instead decided to make donations to two charities.

White Light continues its ongoing involvement with the lighting industry charity Light Relief with a donation of £2000. Established in 2000, Light Relief aims to provide help to those working in the field of entertainment lighting when they find themselves in times of extreme hardship. White Light has been involved with Light Relief from the start, with White Light's Chairman, John Simpson, serving as one of the charity's trustees. He presented White Light's donation to fellow-trustee and Association of Lighting Designers Chairman Rick Fisher at 14th Annual Lighting Dinner in mid-December.

White Light has donated a further £1000 to Cancer Research UK. This donation marks and commemorates the lives of a number of White Light people lost to cancer during 2004-2005, including Antony Bridges and White Light co-founders Rory Dempster and Andy Phillips.

"We hope that people won't be too disappointed when they don't see a Christmas card from White Light drop through their letterbox this year," says John Simpson. "We decided that this year, the money we'd normally spend on cards and gifts we'd donate to two worthwhile causes, that it would be a better way to celebrate Christmas. We do hope that others agree - and we do wish everyone in the industry all the best for Christmas and the New Year beyond."


Rosco continues support for Light Relief at PLASA06

PLASA06 saw Rosco's continuing support for Light Relief with the presentation of a cheque for $3,762, raised from sales of Light Relief Yellow #313, to Rick Fisher by Rosco president Stan Miller.

Introduced in late 2003, Light Relief Yellow #313 is part of Rosco's Supergel range of colour filters and was developed with the help of Fisher, co-founder, along with the late Tony Gottelier, of the industry charity that supports lighting designers with personal difficulties.

"What is so great about Rosco's support for Light Relief through Light Relief Yellow #313 is that it will continue to support Light Relief for years to come," says Fisher.  "That kind of commitment to the industry and the people who work in it is what has always marked out Rosco. We in the UK really value Rosco's innovative way of helping Light Relief to answer the needs of people in the lighting industry who fall on difficult times."

Stan Miller commented, "We at Rosco are pleased to support the work of Rick and his dedicated associates at Light Relief. It's clear that #313 will be a popular Supergel colour in the years to come and our donations will continue."


Obituary - Tony Gottelier

Without Tony and his inspiration, hard work and sheer determination, Light Relief would not exist.

In the first half of 2000, the plight of Tom Donnellan brought to Tony's attention the fact that there was no industry fund providing assistance of any kind to lighting designers who found themselves on hard times. Tony highlighted Tom's case in his regular No Comment column in Lighting&Sound International, gaining support for the founding of an industry charity, which he named Light Relief.

In conjunction with Rick Fisher, Tony took up the reins and, in 2003, the organisation was awarded charity status, although it had already supported claims from many people in the lighting profession.

Tony identified strongly with Tom Donnellan and others that Light Relief was set up to help. In his column in June 2000, Tony wrote:

"As one who has had to contend with serious illness during my career, and the consequential financial fallout, I am perhaps more aware than most how such experiences, dealt at random by life's lottery, can impact on one's daily life and resources, both material and mental. Like Tom, I had no health insurance that covered loss of income and, in effect, I am still paying the price of that temporary incapacity today. Unlike Tom Donnellan, though it didn't seem like it at the time, with huge support from my wife, it turned out that I did have the capacity to survive the trauma. Others, as in Tom's wife's case, will not be so fortunate."

In the late 1970s and 1980s, Tony was one of the most influential lighting designers working in the nightclub and leisure industry, with his groundbreaking design for the famous Camden Palace among his achievements. From 1983 onwards, with Peter Wynne-Willson, Tony was a partner in the innovative lighting design and engineering firm, Wynne-Willson Gottelier (WWG). The company was responsible for many entertainment projects for the leisure and cruise ship industry, and for creating products such as the Razorhead moving searchlight, the Fantôme - an automated version of Robert Juliat's 2.5kW zoom profile - and of course the Catalyst system with its 'orbital movement' mirror-based projection arrangement.

Tony was a long-time associate editor and regular contributor to Lighting&Sound International magazine, and his No Comment column became one of the most talked-about regular features of the magazine: the page would often be faxed across the Atlantic in advance of the print version arriving, so that the Stateside industry could see what he was talking about.

Tony Gottelier died on July 16 2006 at his home in Kent, England, following a long illness.

The Trustees of Light Relief personally celebrated the life of Tony by planting trees in the Crown Meadow Wood, Dunton Green, Kent with the help of The Woodland Trust.

 
Registered Charity: 1095602 Company Registration No:4370699