Feb 01

Learning to read Light Plots

This week, we started to hang the lights for the upcoming show, Merrily We Roll Along.

A light plot is a map of the stage that has the electrics on it. On this, lighting designers will draw out where they want each light to be hung for a show. They draw different shapes for different lights, so they can distinguish what type of light is needed where. They also write in the lights what address they are to be plugged into. The address matters because when someone goes to pull up the light they have to use the address. If the address is wrong the light will not come up.

The light plot was created by Andy Parks, someone outside of DA who does them for all the shows. He drew it out and gave it to us to hung. Because of this I got to learn how to read a light plot. After looking at all the lights, we had to decide what would be the best place to start hanging lights. Since some on the lights had to line up with each other, we measured out where those would go on the ground. Then we decided to start on the second electric since it was easily accessible and had a good amount of lights on it. We sent someone up in the lift and started to hang lights. From the ground, I looked at where exactly they were supposed to go and help the person up in the lift put them in the right spot. Then I would look and the drawing and figure out what angle and direction they should be pointed. Finally, I had to say what address they were going to be plugged into. Once a light is hung, we highlight on the plot so we know it is correct.

Learning to read a light plot was a good first step. This was important for me to learn because when I design my own light plots, I am going to need to take into consideration all of the things that are needed. Seeing this one will help a lot with that.


This is the light plot for Merrily We Roll Along


  1. Tina Bessias

    This is exciting, Katie–you’re learning the code for serious theater magic! Does directing the light-hanging process feel like a big, scary responsibility, or does it get tiresome?

  2. 19cunneen

    Although it does feel like a big responsibility, it is not scary. I feel that my work in technical theatre for the past few years has helped prepare me.

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