Nadia lights up the scene

BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, March 23, 2014    

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SHE calls what she does 'painting with lights' — illuminating the canvas that is the stage and set of theatrical productions in order to take audiences on a ride with the actors.

For lighting director Nadia Roxburgh, her efforts are obviously paying off as this year she is nominated for three Actor Boy Awards in the category Best Lighting Design for her work in Taboo, Departure in the Dark and Jonkanoo Jamboree.

"Each was a totally different experience, but that was good as it helped me explore different sides of my craft," said Roxburgh.

"Departure in the Dark was a period piece, set in the 1940s, so we had to choose the right colours to work with as well as use lighting to accentuate a timeline on which the actors were moving. Taboo was quite a challege as there were three sets on the stage and we had to play with tones to bring out the intensity that was required," she noted.

For Jonkanoo Jamboree, she described that process as being a lot more fun.

"I was able to play with colours a lot more given that it was a fantasy musical. In addition, the minimalist set gave us more to work with."

No stranger to Actor Boy nominations and wins, Roxburgh's love affair with the theatre intensified when she enrolled as a student at the University of the West Indies, Mona and became a member of the Drama Society.

However, she was never interested in being on stage and took to the technical side of the industry like the proverbial fish.

"Initially, I did a lot of behind-the-scenes work on student productions at the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts, starting off by cleaning the gels for the lights, and eventually got up to stage manager.

This introduction to the technical side of theatre prompted Roxburgh to further her studies in the area. In 2008 she completed post- graduate studies in Theatre Practices with an emphasis on lighting design at Rose Bruford College in the United Kingdom.

From her vantage point, the local theatre scene is indeed vibrant, but she added that more production value, time and money have to be invested in order to keep apace with international standards.

"Jamaican productions can look like their international counterparts, but we do not have the time. We have a high standard, the theatre scene is like none other in the Caribbean, so we just have to stop concentrating on what exists overseas and appreciate and work with what we have," she stated.





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