A Lighting Plan – shows the location of the theatre lights
A Patch Sheet – gives a list of which circuit or patch is plugged into which dimmer circuit
A Plot or Cue Sheet – is a list of the lighting cues in a production with details such as cue number, timing, actions
A lighting plan shows the location of the theatre lights used for a production and usually includes:
where they are mounted on the lighting bars
the circuit number or patch number that the light is plugged into
The dimmer channel that the light is patched into
The colour of gel used in the light
The focus position of the light
Any accessories used on the light such as barn doors or gobo
Focus notes such as stage area e.g. DSL or purpose e.g. doorway
The are three styles of lighting plans, a sketch on a piece of paper, a scale drawing on a sheet of paper or a CAD plot.
Sketching a lighting plan onto a piece of paper is the quickest way to start a lighting plan and may be all that is needed for a simple show, but does not provide much documentation for anyone else that may need to be involved with the lighting.
This is a scan of the lighting plan for one of the NYE On The Rocks shows that I lit for Mark Taylor at The Quarry Amphitheatre. It shows stage position, rigging details, fixture number and dmx address for LightFactory patching. It is not to scale and does not have a complete legend as we were familiar with the lights in the rig. Not a good practice to follow when you are just starting in lighting design.
This sketch is my lighting plan for a show done before the theatre was refurbished. There was only 24 dimmer channels available then, so some of the lights are on the same dimmer channels. I have used conventional symbols for sopts, fresnels and floods, but did not include a legend. Notice that there are two upstage lighting bars with the lights focussed at steeper angles that the usual 45 degrees, to avoid putting actors shadows on the cyc or rear of the set, while still lighting their faces as close to the set as possible.
An example of drawing up a lighting plan is to look at the steps used to draw a lighting plan for The Secret Garden performed at Melville Theatre in June 2017. The starting points were the stage dimensions supplied by Melville Theatre. In the production meeting with the Director Katherine Friend, we noted that a 1.5m thrust was being used at the front of the stage. Standing on the stage showed that the angles from the front of house lighting bar was too shallow, so a side elevation plan was needed, in addition to a lighting plan.
I used a scale of 1:25 to suit a smaller stage and I have 1:25 lighting stencils. I worked from the centre of each stage position, as this is a side elevation the positions are Downstage, Middlestage and Upstage. Where the line intersected the moutning height of the theatre lighting bars is the ideal position of the lighting bars I wanted to have for The Secret Garden. The front of house bar was ok for downstage, but I had to rig a bar over the thrust for middlestage lighting and downstage backlighting. The first stage bar behing the proscenium arch was ok for upstage lighting and middlestage backlighting.
This Garrick Theatre Socket or Circuit patch sheet was drawn up before the theatre refurbishment so needs to have the socket numbers updated. You put in the details of what Lamp(s) are plugged into what stage lighting sockets, also called stage circuits, what dimmer channel the patch tail is to be plugged into, what colour lighting gel is put onto the lamp and what function the light performs, such as DSL or doorway special.
Garrick Theatre Lighting Socket Plan after theatre refurbishment.
This Garrick Theatre Square One patch sheet was drawn up before the theatre refurbishment so needs to have the socket numbers updated. It is for a Square One lighting design that is a good starting point for most productions lighting. It allows for isolation of any of the nine stage areas, a mix of warm and cool colours, door specials and downstage spots or specials.
It requires 27 lights for the nine stage areas, two key lights at 45 degrees from the front and a backlight. The three downstage spots are nominal specials and will change for different lighting designs.
This lighting design had three dimmer racks available, which is 36 channels. It is an ideal design as there is a seperate dimmer channel for each light, which gives the lighting designer maximum flexibity to set lighting levels.
Theatres with less dimmer racks will have to compromise and pair lights up on some dimmer channels.