As universities and academic performing arts centers employ increasingly sophisticated lighting rigs, they need powerful lighting consoles to control them. And consoles themselves become essential learning tools within the curricula of lighting-design and theatre-technology programs. Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) is among the most recent schools to add ETC’s new Eos lighting control system to its program.
“My hope was that after training my students on this console they would be able to sit down with any console and quickly figure out what they were doing,” says Ann Willingham, a lighting design instructor at MTSU in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. “I know with many consoles you have to know certain keystrokes or ‘secret passwords’ to achieve certain commands. Yet, it’s all laid out concisely on the Eos.”
The students have found it easy to learn Eos, Willingham notes. MTSU used the console for the first time in February, on Ramona Quimby, a play based on the book by Beverly Cleary. The Eos was delivered just days before the show’s opening, and without any formal training, the lighting designer was able to program the show on the console. The university’s advanced lighting-design students will showcase their creative work in several other student shows this semester, putting the Eos to use controlling the school’s multimedia lighting rig.
In addition to student shows, MTSU’s 1000-seat Tucker proscenium theatre is used as a roadhouse, hosting events for the surrounding community. Eos is a good fit for the theatre’s busy tour schedule. Willingham adds: “I like that we can set up a house show with readily accessible—and visible—palettes and groups. It makes running things on the fly a lot easier.”
As MTSU’s lighting students prepare for their own post-college careers, Willingham says she believes Eos will ready them for the technology and the demands they will face in the professional entertainment and architectural lighting fields.