Interview with our Lighting Designer


We interviewed 17 year old Finn Bentley, our Lighting Designer for 2017, to find out why he loves lighting and theatre and what it’s like to design shows!

What introduced you to lighting design and the theatre?
I began lighting at the New Peninsula Centre when their lighting tech left. I was given the opportunity to give the lights a go, so I taught myself how to use the console and how to use lighting to create different effects.

What do you find most interesting about designing lighting for a show?
I think that what you can do with lights is the most interesting. The lighting can make or break a show, it can give the show different effects and different moods. Along with lighting comes other aspects that are under your control such as special effects and projection and I find that very interesting as well.

Who have you worked with?
I have worked for the New Peninsula centre for two years and also have worked with Frankston Arts Centre for my school’s productions. However, the biggest influence on my lighting skills came from when I worked with BAAC Light; they have taught me a lot about the industry and different ways to use light.

Do you have any other hobbies?
I also find enjoyment in sport; I am a 2x state kayaker, and have also won state titles in lifesaving.

What’s your process for designing lighting?
First I like to read a description of the show if it is a new piece, or look at previous shows if it is already a functioning show. Then, after the choreographer has finished the dances, I attend some of the rehearsals and begin to learn the show and get a feel for the mood and environment of the dance.  I separate each scene and design them one at a time, making sure to take into account the requests of the other artists. When the base of the lights is complete I look for specific areas where I can add some other lighting effects to add to the design. Once I have all these written down and into a cue list, I program them into them into the lighting console and for the first time get to see my ideas on the stage. 

For this years production with Spark I am focussing on enhancing the show using different types of lighting and effects that may not normally be used for a dance company. I hope for the people watching to not only be amazed by the dance but also be impressed with the lighting.

In the future, do you want to pursue a career in lighting? 
Although my main aim for the future is to join the British Army, I would love to still continue lighting and other theatre/tech areas. A show that I have always wanted to work on is Lion King. I have seen it twice, once in London and once in Melbourne, and I think that it is the most technically demanding show not just in lighting and effects but in costuming and stage effects. It would be an awesome show to work on.

You can see Finn’s work onstage as part of our ‘Shatter’ season at Frankston Arts Centre from October 5-6. Book tickets below!