Opened in 1997, Shakespeare’s Globe is a reconstruction of the Globe Theatre, an
Elizabethan Playhouse in London where many of Shakespeare’s plays were

Shakespeare’s Globe is dedicated to experimentation, with its mission to ground
itself in research and exploration, pushing the boundaries of its artistic endeavours,
principally in relation to Shakespeare’s works.

For the first time, the venue has installed a state-of-the-art theatrical lighting rig
for the summer season — with GLP’s multiple award-winning impression X4 Bars
playing a crucial role. Previously, performances have used only natural daylight,
similar to the original productions, during daytime shows, and a wash of tungsten
floodlighting in the evenings.

Designed by Malcolm Rippeth, who has also masterminded the lighting for two of
the shows in the opening season, the new inventory has been supplied by White
Light, and installed as part of Emma Rice’s first season as Artistic Director.

The design brief was to create the most flexible and cutting edge system possible
while minimising the rig’s visual intrusion, and providing the various lighting
designers with the widest range of options possible.

And this is where GLP’s versatile fixture excelled. “The trickiest part of the rig was
finding a good overhead backlight, as these units are most prominently in the
audience’s sightlines,’ Malcolm Rippeth explains. “The position demanded a very
narrow discreet strip fixture but something far more versatile than the LED battens
we now see everywhere, while individual moving heads or even generics would
have been too obvious visually.’

After discovering (and then demoing) the GLP solution, he specified 12 of the X4 Bar
20s — five downstage and seven upstage. They made their debut on A Midsummer
Night’s Dream, directed by Emma Rice, with lighting design by Victoria Brennan and
Malcolm himself.

Reviewing the flexibility of the X4 Bars on this production, he states, “The upstage
pipe was able to deliver everything from a full stage backlight to a light curtain to
much more specific backlight areas via pixel-mapping, while the downstage pipe
takes the backlight all the way to the edge. It also gives us options as a downlight,
a front light to upstage and balconies — and has also been used as an architectural
skim to the ceiling.’

After designing the lighting rig Malcolm Rippeth invited all the other LDs who would
use the rig to continue the development — and they delivered nothing but positive
feedback. Meanwhile, the Globe’s Head of Production, Paul Russell, worked out the
infrastructure in terms of cabling and rigging positions, and The Globe’s Lighting
Supervisor, Ben Nichols, has been responsible for day-to-day operations and

All rigging positions were bespoke, including moving light positions while the
theatrical electrical installation was undertaken by Northern Light.

At the end of the summer season most of the rig will come down — and the residual
lighting rig will be no more visible than it was previously. “We will continue in that
spirit and look forward to making the install even more sympathetic, discreet and
flexible next year,’ promises the designer.