They say that success breeds success, and this year’s winner of the Michael Northen Bursary Award certainly proves the point. Michael Northen Bursary set up the fund shortly before he died in 2001, and the award is given for a project completed within the past academic year as a design scholarship. The entries are judged purely on imaginative design and creativity in lighting.
In 2006 Georg Spindler, a second year student at LIPA, was recognized with an honorable mention. This year, spurred on by his success, Spindler entered his lighting design for The Memory of Water, which formed part of the 2007 student show at LIPA. Described by the judges as “creative in a very theatrical way, this was a beautifully documented and reasoned entry, with well presented sketches and photographs.” The design won Georg the £500 Bursary. Presenting the award on September 11 at PLASA, Rick Fisher, chairman of the ALD, said: “There was definitely no ‘favoritism’ because this year, for the first time, the judges were not told the names of the entrants, so to us all the entries were anonymous.”
The judges—ALD members Rick Fisher, Sam Gibbons, Mark Jonathan, Mary Pope, Paul Pyant, Mike Robertson, and Mark White, also representing ETC—were unanimous in their praise for the high level of creativity of all the entries this year, but had no hesitation in selecting the winners. The ETC-sponsored runner up prize of £250, presented by Fred Foster, CEO of ETC, went to Catherine Crick of Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama for her design for the college’s production of Quadrophenia. Foster said: “Catherine had a large rig, which the judges felt had been used to extremely good effect, producing some very striking visual looks.”
The ALD runner up prize of £250 was awarded to Dan Large, Central School of Speech and Drama, for his lighting of a site-specific piece based on the Ghost Sonata. Presenting Large with his check, Fisher said: “With very few resources, Large overcame some big challenges by devising an innovative lighting solution, including using LEDs to self-illuminate some of the actors.” The fund is managed by The Mousetrap Foundation, an organization committed to supporting young theatre practitioners.