A Lovely Surprise / by Rob Halliday

Rob was surprised, delighted, humbled, flattered, proud and incredibly grateful to be presented with Life Membership of the Association of Lighting Designers, along with lighting designers Robbie Butler and Paule Constable, at the annual Lighting Lunch on Monday.

This wonderful gift was presented by the ALD to recognise the work the three have carried out ‘in recognition of service to the development of the Association, with special reference to the Stage Stage Lighting Campaign during 2018.‘

Save Stage Lighting is the campaign that was brought rapidly to life at the start of the year in response to the threat that the European Union’s proposed new Ecodesign Lighting regulations to irrevocably damage performance lighting. Created by the ALD, the Campaign quickly attracted a great deal of attention with its weekend of projecting the #SaveStageLightng logo inside and outside many of the highest profile theatres and other performance events across Europe. Rob and the ALD also worked to ensure that the issue was clearly explained to anyone interested, in particular publishing an explanatory document alongside Focus magazine, and regular updates on the ALD’s website.

More importantly, the campaign marshalled the support of other organisations across Europe, including PLASA, the Society of London Theatre, many of the UK and Europe’s key theatres and commercial producers, VPLT in Germany, OETGH in Austria, the Association of Swedish Lighting Designers and many others including manufacturers and lighting suppliers, ultimately marshalled by the European producer’s league, Searle. Their collective work resulted in a meeting with the EU’s Energy team that opened a channel of discussion and led to a number of key exemptions being included in the next draft of the regulation. This still left a number of key issues unresolved, and the ALD’s SaveStageLighting team has been working to brief the UK and other governments since, in the run up to the final meeting to discuss further changes to the regulations. Ironically, that meeting took place in Brussels at the same time as the Lighting Lunch! Full details of the very final text of the regulation are not yet known, though it has been suggested that many of the outstanding issues relating to entertainment lighting have been resolved.

“Being surprised with this during the Lighting Lunch was slightly overwhelming,” Rob recalls, “and so while I tried to point out that this was about far more than the work I or Robbie or Paule had done and thanked a few people, I inevitably missed so many out. But all of the work on this during the year has really been a wonderful team effort, with the wider ALD #SSL team of Michael Hulls, Jim Laws, Mark Jonathan, Lucy Carter, Matt Drury, Ian Saunders and Jo Town, with PLASA, in particular Adam Bennette and Mike Wood, with Patrick Woodroffe and his ability to get on the radio and then speak so eloquently about what we do, with the other organisations across Europe, with all of the theatres that supported #SSL, in particular the National Theatre, with everyone at Pearle and the IALD in Brussels, with all of the MPs and MEPs who stood up and supported us, with the big theatre producers in the UK, with Russell Lucas who made sure we spoke to the smaller theatres as well and organised an opportunity to do so and, most importantly, with the 85,000+ people who signed the on-line petition in support of this. Never again do we get to say that no-one understands or appreciates what it is that we do. Thankyou to each and every one.”

#Save Stage Lighting at the Association of Lighting Designers: [link]