TIM ROUTLEDGE TPi Awards’ Lighting Designer of the Year
Over the year’s you’ve worked in television, live touring and large-scale sporting events. What is it about each discipline that you find appealing? I am a very lucky LD. I have a lot of great clients in lots of different disciplines and I am equally at home in a FOH position at The O2 Arena to the lighting gallery in a TV studio and so on. Being knowledgeable about all aspects has opened up a world of possibilities and one that is very rare. Few people cross over especially from concert touring to TV and back again.
You’ve certainly had a busy 12 months working on the likes of Sam Smith, Florence + the Machine and Stormzy to name but a few. What is the secret to balancing all these productions? Workflow; I have setup the company, Tim Routledge Lighting Design, to use a certain way of working. We are geared up to design a huge range of shows at anytime as the organisation in the background is as slick as possible. I’m also a bit of a control freak so I like things to be neat, tidy and organised, the second that system isn’t adhered too then the wheels fall off. As a designer, what trends/technological innovations within the world of lighting have you been most excited by in recent years? Technology has grown unimaginably since I started in the industry. The most exiting development in the past three or so years has been in followspot technology. Technology in followspots has been stagnant for years but it is the most crucial bit of kit in any show. We can now accomplish things with key light and tracking performers that we have always wanted to achieve. I haven’t used a traditional spot on a rig for quite a while as my go-to bit of kit is now a remote spot system. The ability to take control of everything apart from position means I can tell an operator to track someone for the whole show and I opt in when its on or not. It makes for a much less stressful show and much quieter one on comms. It’s a blessing!
What inspired you to pursue a career in lighting and show design? I was a child actor on the first independent tour of the USSR back in 1988. I thought I would carry on doing that but the adolescence hit and I really didn’t want to be on the stage and decided I’d rather be on the other end of the multicore. I knew another LD, Stephen Abbiss, at my youth theatre and got involved in Edinburgh Fringe shows. When I went left university in 1996 I thought I just wanted to do experimental fringe theatre. However, 20 or so years later and that is no longer the case.
How did it feel to reclaim your the Lighting Designer of the Year title at the 2019 TPi Awards? ‘I’ve still got it’ was my initial thought! But I’m thrilled that in an ever-expanding universe of LDs and projects all over the world, I’m still getting great feedback and response from the industry and my contemporaries. As everyone says doing what we do, it’s never about winning awards… but it is… it isn’t … or is it?
What was your big break in the industry? I was lucky enought to be forced to adopt the MA Lighting grandMA1 for a project. At the time it really wasn’t that known and I quickly became the go to guy for all things MA which continued into the arrival of grandMA2. 110