Interview with... RICHARD G JONES - Lighting Designer for 'The Railway Children' at London Waterloo Station

We grab a few minutes with award winning lighting designer Richard G Jones, who is currently working on The Railway Children, at Waterloo Station Theatre.

The Railway Children
Hi Richard, how did you get involved in lighting design?
I started working on shows at my local theatre in Worcester when I was 17, got the theatre bug and worked my way into a job as technical assistant, working in all departments as required eventually settling into the two man LX department where I lit the bulk of the studio shows.

You are constantly in demand as a designer, how do you cope with the amount of productions every year? 
To be honest every job is so different so it is always fresh and exciting to go to work, I just wish that we were paid our worth so we did not have to do so many jobs in theatre and teaching a year to make ends meet.

The Railway Children
How difficult is it to put on a production like The Railway Children in an environment such as Waterloo Station? 
We mounted the production originally at York at the National Railway Museum and very little has changed on the move to Waterloo, it is essentially the same rig with some additions to take into account the extra seating on each side of the track. The major issues at Waterloo were the lack of avaliable power on the platforms to run the dimmers, we are actually running power from three of the disconected travalators!! The other issue was the weight loading on the Eurostar roof once you add truss weight, speaker weight, the fabric that forms the venue itself it all adds up, this together with taking in to account the snow loading meant we had to add some ground supports to help ease things out a little.

What processes are involved from initially reading the script for a production? How do you get your ideas? 
I had a lot of conversations with Damian the director regarding the style of the production all the creative team were very involved with the entire process from day one. Lots of ideas came from those meetings and sharing ideas between us all.

Sweeney Todd
You have lit an enormous variety of shows over the years, which has been your highlight so far?
The Railway Children is very special, but I guess lighting Sweeney Todd on Broadway was a major highlight.

Of all the new lighting technology that is out at the moment, which are you particularly impressed with?
Lighting desks and great programmers are the thing that impresses me most. I still love lighting a show with generic kit, a great programmer and a desk that they know inside out is more important to me. I really like the new ETC desks for theatre and the EOS and ION have been on many of the last tours I have done.

When you ever get any spare time away from theatre, what do you enjoy doing?
I wish I had more spare time I love Gardening and going for long walks.

Any shows you haven’t lit yet which you would love to get your hands on?
I don't really think about it, I love a challenge and every show and venue offer those up, that is why I am still working and busy I guess. 

Salvation Army at Royal Albert Hall
Finally, what projects do you have coming up after The Railway Children?
I am back to York to light Two Planks and a Passion and Peter Pan, after that down to Salisbury to light Way Upstream, and then at the Royal Albert Hall to light Celebrating Christmas with the Salvation Army!! Beats working in an office.

More information about Richard on his website

The Railway Children is on now at Waterloo Station Theatre, booking until 4th September 2011.
Book tickets HERE