Professional Lighting & Production Summer 2023 - Page 22

By Manus Hopkins

LIGHTING THE STAGE at Young People ’ s Theatre

With an upgraded lighting system , Toronto ’ s oldest professional theatre company is ready for the future .

Young People ’ s Theatre ( YPT ) is the oldest professional theatre company in Toronto , and until recently , some of its lighting equipment was likely some of the oldest in the city as well . The theatre space has gone through some massive transformations this past year , with an upgraded sound system as well , to push the company forward into these much more futuristic times . 57 years in , the Young People ’ s Theatre is ready for the future and decked out with new upgrades . We caught up with former YPT Project Manager Josh Hind and Head of Lighting Ash Ovington to get the lowdown on what the new lighting system consists of , and why it was time for an upgrade .

These interviews have been edited for length and clarity .
PL & P : Why was a new lighting system something the theatre needed ?
Hind : The lighting system that was present in the building was installed in the late ‘ 70s and was a strand CPD system — easily one of the oldest operating natural dimming systems in the country . There are other examples of strand CPD systems mostly remaining in schools , but none that I can find still remaining in theatres . So , for example , what is now called TMU , but it used to be called Ryerson Theatre School , had one that they ripped out . Before the pandemic , Hart House had a similar system . But over the years , they ’ ve all gone away because they ’ re just old and hard to service ; there ’ s only one gentleman left in Ontario who could still service them . And they required a lot of regular maintenance . Our original plan at YPT had been to build a new facility . And that plan was frustrated by granting issues and change of government . And then ultimately , the pandemic came along . And that dream , which the company had been working towards for about 10 years , the pandemic put it far enough out of reach , that we realized that we needed to do something with the existing facility because that system hadn ’ t been upgraded . There were talks about upgrading it for years , but it hadn ’ t been upgraded because , hey , we ’ re going to move to a new building ; why
22 | Summer 2023