A major campaign to save the tungsten bulb for theatrical use has been launched internationally, with a long list of distinguished lighting designers supporting the cause: Richard Pilbrow, Patrick Woodroffe, Durham Marenghi, Paule Constable, Rick Fisher, Neil Austin, Andrew Bridge, Mark Henderson, Johanna Town, Mark Jonathan, David Hersey, Jennifer Tipton, David Finn, Ken Posner, Don Holder, Ken Billington, Brian MacDevitt, Howell Binkley, Steve Shelley, ML Geiger, Aaron Copp, Seth Jackson, Kevin Adams, Jules Fisher, Christina Giannelli, Mark Stanley and many others, including those in Canada, France, and Australia.

"An astonishing cross-section of the theatre lighting profession are in support of this initiative to save the tungsten lamp for theatrical use," says lighting designer Richard Pilbrow. "The campaign is not in any way anti-LED, which is an inevitable part of our future; it is simply an effort to preserve the tungsten lamps that theatre really needs."

A letter has gone to out lighting designers, heads of lighting, production and theatre managers stating: “We're trying to galvanize support amongst the great and the good in the lighting world who are increasingly concerned at the reduction in production of various types of Tungsten lamps, to lobby major lighting and lamp manufacturers (particularly Phillips because of their enormous global market and because they are both producing theatre lights and lamps and they are no longer investing in developing Tungsten products) to preserve Tungsten sources and their production for the future. We will also be lobbying manufacturers such as Ushio, GE and Sylvania.

“This is not a campaign against any particular other sources such as LED or discharge, but merely an attempt to preserve a particularly beautiful species that seems under threat. Of course we all want more efficient and less carbon producing sources and can do a lot to reduce the current 10% of carbon emissions that stage lighting contributes to a theatre production, but to consider the gradual extinction of Tungsten sources is something that makes myself and many other theatre based LDs weep,” says UK lighting designer Michael Hulls, who began the process.

Those who want to lend their support to such a lobby can register their support by replying to: savetungsten@ald.org.uk, or post messages of support and join the discussion at www.facebook.com/SaveTungsten

The list of bulbs considered worth saving:

The ETC Source 4/ Ushio HPL range

The MR 16 lamp range

The PAR 64 CP 62s, 61s, 60s and EXG, lamp ranges (Phillips, Osram, GE, Sylvania)

PAR 56 4545 Marine Searchlamp

The PAR 36 lamp range

Svobadas and DLCs lamp ranges  

Beamlight lamp ranges

T 11, T14, T17, T 18, T19, T24, T 25, T26, T 27, T28, T29

GE M38, GE M40

Phillips/GE 575w HPL

K Class linear Floods