Shopping Cart Link

Wesleyan University Press

Sign up for our newsletter

Bookmark and Share
Cart link

For Educators

Go to Open Access link
Cover image Click for larger image

Theatre Lighting before Electricity
Frederick Penzel

Available only as an ebook.

Wesleyan Open Books

1978 • 192 pp. 50 illus., 3 tables 7 x 10"
History / Theater & Performing Arts

$0.00 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7788-7

Open access - no commercial use
Click Open Access at right to check availability.

Theatre Lighting Before Electricity covers the intricacies of dealing with stage lighting before the advent of electricity. Ranging from ancient Greek times to 1882, theater historian Frederick Penzel shows that theatre lighting has a long and ingenious history. As early as the sixteenth century, Italian theatres had colored lighting displays. Scenes were lighted by large central chandeliers, and early forms of sidelights, reflectors, and floodlights were in use. Lighting was adjusted to create moods or to reinforce dramatic actions. Gaslighting was first generally used in theatres in 1817 and before the end of that year the most important London theatres were completely illuminated by gaslight. Penzel demonstrates that by the time electricity had come into use, most modem stage lighting devices had been in development for many years, and were only being modified for use with a more powerful light source. Originally published in 1978, this was the first written history of early theatre lighting and contains many valuable technical illustrations. This book continues to present an unparalleled resource on early stage lighting.

FREDERICK PENZEL, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist, and holds both an M.A. and Ph.D. from Hofstra University in School and Clinical Psychology. He is the executive director of Western Suffolk Psychological Services. Dr. Penzel holds an MFA in Theatre Design and Technology from the Yale Drama School.

An NEH / Mellon Humanities Open Book Grant Recipient


Mon, 18 Jun 2018 12:46:19 -0500