On your marks, get set, go

It was with much excitement that the Nulty team raced to catch the train for Ready Steady Light, 2013. The event has been happening for 11 years and is one of the most important events for new lighting designers. This year saw the introduction of a new Junior Ready Steady Light, a separate event where schools and colleges have the chance to compete. The SLL is to be commended for offering such a great opportunity to young people.

How it works…

Ready Steady Light takes place in Rose Bruford College – a well known theatre university. Teams are given a random selection of lights, randomly allocated a location on the campus, and given three hours to come up with a design. For first-timers, it is an invaluable opportunity to design in real life, rather than with computers. But be warned – standing outside for three hours is bitterly cold. Mud-proof boots and gloves are vital to success!

Getting started…

Our team was allocated the Buttery – an uninspiring building in the centre of the campus. After having a good chuckle at the name, we got down to business. It is a good idea to switch everything on quite quickly because some lamps have long strike times. It also means you can get to the swap shop sooner and nab the best fittings. You position lights in the space, change them, gently argue about them, and then have a final panic as darkness sets in and the true nature of the design is revealed.

Above: As night falls, Anna and Dan learn an important lesson about glare!

Once everything was set up, teams get to peer-judge the other contestants. I was quite impressed by this entry for View From the Boardroom (above). I like the careful choice of colour temperature, and the painterly way they have highlighted the trees.

Nulty - Ready Steady Light 2013 - Competition Entry Arty Lighting Installation

Above: Light IQ deservedly won the peer award with this stunning design. Beautiful colour made it reminiscent of the work of Dan Flavin. It was like a work of art.

And the winner of the Artistic Award is DPA with the Lighting Office (above). I think the soft spotlights draw you into the space, and feel slightly magical.

And us? We snatched an admirable third place in the peer-nominated category. We took an uninspiring space and used colour and form to create drama (above). I quite like how our lights pick up the texture of the wall.

Nulty - Ready Steady Light 2013 - Texture Red Lighting Hedge Stencil

Interestingly, some of the most beautiful images can arise by accident. This amazing texture (above) comes from the stencil of the hedge.

As we were setting up, we noticed that quite a lot was happening around the university. Some students created a temporary installation with glow-rings (above).

Rose Bruford is quite an interesting establishment – it dubs itself a “College of Theatre and Performance”, but is perhaps more well-known for its show-based approach. Lighting students gain a lot of practical experience, thus can finish their degrees and easily go straight into the industry. The Ready Steady Light event itself is run, on the day, by Bruford students, who use it as a credited module of their degree. So there you go – the lighting designers of the future, running an event for the lighting designers of today – what could be more perfect?