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Eric Wolfensohn: Pioneer of Twentieth-Century British Theatre Lighting Design

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 November 2008

Abstract

Eric Wolfensohn was one of a small group of British lighting designers to emerge in the 1940s. In this article, Nigel Morgan records how, as he plied his trade, Wolfensohn established a blueprint for the working pattern of the modern freelance lighting designer. Starting as a technician and operator, he progressed to designer and consultant, crossing between the genres of ballet, opera, and plays, and moving seamlessly into shop display, exhibition, film and television, borrowing techniques from each particular form and fusing styles in a quest for aesthetic satisfaction. Nigel Morgan qualified as a music teacher, and playing in a rock band introduced him to the stage and a fascination for stage design and technology. For the next twenty years he followed a career in theatre, lighting world premieres of plays by Caryl Churchill, Stephen Jeffreys and Tom Kempinski. He developed a highly successful lighting business in retail, with Harrods and Daks-Simpsons the principal London clients. Parallel to this, he was the innovator of lighting programmes in higher education, including the first European undergraduate programme in lighting design at Rose Bruford College in 1996. Nigel gained a PhD in 2003 for researching the origins of lighting design in Britain, and has published Stage Lighting for Theatre Designers and Stage Lighting in Britain: the Emergence of the Lighting Designer.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008

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Eric Wolfensohn: Pioneer of Twentieth-Century British Theatre Lighting Design
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