Lighting up Shakespeare combines Jacobean history (the period when Shakespeare’s plays were written and first performed) with the latest LED technology to authentically and safely create a unique audience experience. The project came from my own interest as a lighting designer; I wondered how it might have looked and how lighting could alter the dynamics of a theatre.

The project provides two aspects to the Jacobean stage; covering the stage with light as if lit by chandeliers and using prop lighting such as cressets and lanterns.  Chandeliers hung over the stage and also provided light onto the audience.  Cressets provided light at the front doors of the theatre and were then moved to the stage to add side light once the play started.  These items would have used tallow (animal fat) with a wick made from rush or flax.

Footlights added extra light and were basic to begin with; merely oil lamps placed at the front of the stage but later with advances from Nicola Sabbatini, became more technical and even had methods of “dimming”.

I originally wanted to recreate the Jacobean stage but the wide eyed look from my health and safety manager made me reconsider and that got me thinking… How do you recreate candle-light? How can we keep history alive without the health and safety risks?  My answer?  LEDs.

LED or Light Emitting Diode to give it its full title, have boomed in to the market of recent years and have been incorporated in to what seems like just about everything.  The main advantage to LEDs is their mono-chromaticity.  Now, this does present its own problems but if you took a normal tungsten light bulb and you dimmed it, you would notice it turning a more orange colour; its colour temperature changes.  If you dim an LED, its colour temperature does not change thus making it much easier to match the colour of the candle along with the light level or lux level.

Both stage lighting and prop lighting have two elements; the colour and the flicker. The tallow creates an orange-yellow flame, more orange than a modern day candle and not as bright.  To achieve this match, I used two different colour combinations: red, green and blue and orange, white and green.  When projected on to a reference white background, both combinations produced an exact metamer (colour match) to the tallow candle.

There’s so much more information I’d like to share with you on this project so please visit my website

Emma Armstrong is Stage Technician for Renfrewshire Arts and Museums, Scotland. There will be a “Lighting up Shakespeare” exhibition at Paisley Museum, Renfrewshire, Scotland.  It will be a small exhibition all about the work I have done on this project.  This opens on August 22nd 2012 and will run for 10 weeks.  I will also be presenting a paper at the Glasgow Progress in Colour Studies Conference on July 11th 2012.

Events planned to mark death of poet Tannahill: BBC link

A Scottish poet who killed himself after being rejected by a publisher is to be remembered on the 200th anniversary of his death.
Robert Tannahill, also known as the Weaver Poet, was once viewed as being almost comparable to Burns.
The centenary of his death saw 15,000 people head to Paisley’s Gleniffer Braes, one of his favourite spots, to listen to his songs. It is hoped that Paisley buddies and poetry lovers will again turn out in force to pay tribute to the poet.
New CDs of Tannahill’s work are being released, concerts are being put on and a series of events will take place in May, including walks, talks and a play.
Tannahill was born in 1774 to a weaving family but showed a talent for writing poetry. His song Braes o’ Balquhidder is thought to be the basis for the famous folk song Wild Mountain Thyme.
Valerie Reilly, from Paisley Museum, said Tannahill was inspired by the beauty of nature. read more ..

Discuss this topic on the message board.

Link to Tannahill in Paisley History section.

Link to Tannahill in Famous people from Paisley section.

November Flowers

By Allan Mitchell

the Call

& it’s November 1939 & from Inverness to Glasgow, we come in droves (by car, by bus, by train) to answer the call of our allies. & we leave behind our loved ones (sons, daughters, wives) to set foot on foreign shores & stand & fight for future freedom. & we band together (we men, we brothers, we fathers, we sons) & march toward the coastal docks & unite the British freedom force (infantry, artillery, auxiliary). & on the pier, a regiment piper’s lament echoes & echoes into the crisp coastal air. & the off-key droning wail pulsates harshly through the woodwinds & reefs, & through the ranks like the moaning cry of a dying breath. & the piper’s bag exhales & in rhythmic velvety wisps, it pulsates & pitches & squirms to the finger march of the chanter & “Amazing Grace” heaves out of each reed pipe. & the drone of the piper marches to the drone of the men & the drone of the ship & the drone of the war an ocean away. & from the chilly waters of the Clyde, we set sail for tomorrow with whistles & waves of good luck & goodbye & the hope of knowing that tomorrow will soon become yesterday. & I gaze across the great Atlantic divide and imagine marching & fighting & weeping & dying on the battlefields & beaches of a strange and distant shore.

Read more

I have been doing this website for nearly ten years now and I always learn new things about Paisley, I love hearing story’s about the town and its past. Just yesterday I read somewhere a few facts about Paisley.

One is that Paisley is home to one of the United Kingdom’s biggest ghost railways. The unfinished 15 mile, seven station Paisley and Barrhead district railway became known as the ‘dummy railway’ “you can still see the viaduct next to tesco in Barrhead. When I was a kid growing up in Ferguslie we used to call the Railway going from the Chrysler plant across Ferguslie Main road “the station used to be just where the old Aldi store was formerly Lipton’s garage “do you remember that” at the Arches, The dummy Railway.

What I am getting at is if you have looked over this website and thought to yourself I wonder why he doesn’t have this in or that in this website, then its probably that I don’t know about it so please write me an email and give me as much information as possible in it and I shall publish it in our new OOR TOON section which I will start back up again and also show the old messages from past contributors as the stories are fascinating. I like others love to hear about the town I live in and its past “good or bad” so what are you waiting for email me……