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Student Alumni Series with Niko Lyons, Lighting Designer

Published: October 1, 2018

“Niko Lyons lighting is sensational, especially during the dramatic Fogg's Asylum scene of Act 2.”
Broadway World’s review of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Niko Lyons is a former student of the Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts – now, he does lighting design for performances all across Tampa Bay!

Lighting Design from Sweeny Todd The Musical

How did you get started with the Marcia P. Hoffman and did your time there help you with your current job?

“I got my start at the Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts in 2013 as a student in the Technical Theater Career Training program. During my time in the program, I met Dustin, who is the House Electrician at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Shortly after, I applied for an internship in the education programing, assisting with the lighting for the summer camps. Funny enough, I actually did not get the job! It was only until another intern left that I was given the opportunity. During my time interning, I met Jason Weber, the now former House Technician at the Capitol Theatre. Jason and Dustin gave me encouragement and introduced me to the local chapter of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, which in turn led me to pursue lighting design. When I turned 18 years old, I was able to start on the bottom of the call list and it has been my life ever since.”

What sparked your interest in lighting design?

“I became interested in lighting design because typically, lighting is not a center piece in theatrical design. I found that often times, lighting designers are trying to tell the story of the show just as much as the actors, but rather than singing and dancing it is done by invoking subliminal feeling in the audience with lighting. It is a varied bunch of color choice and fixture positions to get the feel required. Most of the time, concert lighting is the exact opposite than lighting in theatrical design. I’m a big fan of the “flash and trash,” which is taking big beams of light and throwing them around all over the place. Most of the work in concert lighting is lighting the air with beams, it doesn’t matter as much what it looks like on the talent.”

Niko Lyons Lighting Designer

What is your current job and what is a typical day like?

“My usual day consists of working a concert somewhere, mostly the Capitol Theatre, which is owned an operated by Ruth Eckerd Hall. Aside from that, I work across Tampa Bay fairly often, programming and sometimes designing for ballets, operas, etc. During the summers I enjoy working for Mrs. Sharon Reid-Kane (Education & Outreach Officer and Vice President of Education & Outreach at The Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts) designing the summer shows! From Shrek to Sweeney Todd, they are all different and I enjoy making everyone’s visions a reality.”

What’s your advice to anyone interested in lighting design?

For anyone interested in lighting design, I’d say surrounding yourself with people who have more experience than you is invaluable. Learning on the job, interning as a stage hand or better yet a console programmer (assistant to the lighting designer who programs the show during the rehearsal phase) for seasoned designers from the Broadway World is about the best training you can get.

For more information, please check out the Hoffman portion of our website to learn more about upcoming classes.