Lighting Up the Stage: Journey Through the Ages


This research paper is part of the Shodha Sarani- research paper presentation series 2021. Organised by Noopura Bhramari. This series is dedicated to all kinds of #PerformingArts including allied art forms. Our aim is to encourage, promote qualitative #research; and help in the upcoming studies by establishing the productive research to the Art fraternity. This research paper focus on the history of Lightings with special reference to Treatises, Kootiyattam, Yakshagana and many other traditional theatre. The presentation link is


Light plays a very important role in everyday life of all living beings and their activities. The world of performing arts is no exception. Imagine you are in a room with no light, which means you cannot see anything. Now if you turn on a single bulb, then all the focus would be towards the area emitted by the bulb. Add another bulb which will widen the focus and then we add another. Slowly as and when the lights are turned on, the visibility increases. What seemed to be sober with single light now seems to be brighter with many lights. The beauty of the place would have slowly unveiled. This is exactly what happens when we look back into history. The journey from a lamp as a source of light to modern equipment has seen varied improvements over the years. The advent of technology in the 21st century has led to many inventions with regard to stage lighting in performing arts. Theatre in India emerged as classical, rural or folk and modern theatres during different times. These theatres played a very important role in protecting the day-to-day life of human existence in their own ways. Presentation of a theatrical concept followed elaborated aspects of Natyashastra during the classical period and the folk theatre depicted the rural characteristics whereas the contemporary /modern themes, some influenced by western and some by our own mythology were projected by amateur theatres. Aesthetics plays a very important role in performing arts. Even during the times when there was no stage or the modern technological stage lightings the performances used to happen entire days and nights. Understanding how the natural ambience and illumination would have added beauty to the theatrical performance during those periods and is the current technology been able to add more value to the performances as most of them have now moved to the proscenium stage. Were the old ways of stage lighting more subtle and effective? Does the current modern technological advancement add to the aesthetics of the performance.? These are some of the questions the researcher wants to answer as part of this research paper.