A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting, Third Edition–Better than Ever!

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A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting, Third Edition–Better than Ever!

Shelley3coverOnce again, Steven Louis Shelley has improved upon the definitive guide to getting a lighting design out of the brain, and onto the stage. To be clear, this volume isn’t only a great text for students and a handy desktop reference for professional lighting designers. A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting, is a valuable tool for design colleagues, producers, production managers, and stage managers. Sharing information, understanding the needs of the team, these are  things that help create a collaborative process. Shelley details that process, specifically for Lighting Designers, but also to inform the entire staff.

Now, this is tough material, but Shelley is a funny personable guy. That great personality comes through on every page as he clearly is inviting the reader into his own secret world. Without process, all artists are doomed to failure. This is one designer’s process, and it is a good place to begin to evolve your own process. It is also a great check list. Forget one of Shelley’s steps and that error of omission is likely to come back at you later. Not in a good way.

I sure someone has counted the detailed illustrations that chow everything from how to place a lighting unit to sample paper work for each step in the design process, but to say the illustrations are comprehensive does not do the author/illustrator proper respect.

To go back to my original comment, there is no other book available that offers all of this critical information. Specifically, the discussion of collaboration, and sharing information, that causes A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting, Third Edition, to transcend the category of Lighting Design, and require the book to be in the library of anyone who works in theatre.





  1. Absolutely right Kevin. This IS the best and most comprehensive book on the subject, bar none. Shelley is passionate about helping other people in lighting design and this book is a manifestation of that. When he was working on the 2nd edition, he asked me for advice about the length and breadth of the book. I met him at a Irish Pub (or was it an Italian restaurant?) in Hell’s Kitchen one day and we looked at the outline of the book. To quote a famous author (you), “to say the (book) is comprehensive does not do the author proper respect.” He definitely has a lot to say on the subject and it’s all great stuff.