Theatre Lighting Console

" "Drew Hopkins ’20 doesn’t seek the spotlight. The lighting designer for Bucknell’s dance, theatre and music shows says audiences shouldn’t think about the lighting at all. “My whole goal is for them to silently appreciate,” he says. “To say, ‘Wow, everything seemed right.’ ” If the stage is Hopkins’ canvas, the ETC Gio @5 is his paintbrush. The political science and theatre double major from Newtown Square, Pa., can take audiences from a sunlit square to a flashy nightclub with a few taps, keystrokes or twists of a dial. In the shadows, he shines.

Drew Hopkins ’20 in action at Bucknell
Drew Hopkins ’20 in action at Bucknell
Photos: Emily Paine
" "
Drew Hopkins ’20 has had an illuminating education at Bucknell, making the most of opportunities to light the stage for theatre, dance and music shows, using a professional lighting console.
“I’ve been working with this console since middle school, so nine or 10 years now. It’s scarily mindless at this point. There’s something about the workflow of programming on a console that makes sense to me, like: ‘This button causes this action.’ For some reason, that just really clicked in my head.

“I would have to hit 20 keys to get a fixture to turn on, change its color and move. But if I spend a couple of hours programming it beforehand, I could do it in three keystrokes. When writing cues, this saves hours. During an actual performance, it’s all cued in there. I just sit back, relax and watch it run.

“In high school, I was told, ‘Create. Do what you’re going to do.’ And then I came to Bucknell, and I was proud to say, ‘Here’s my portfolio. This is what I’ve done.’ And they said, ‘Great, let’s keep pushing that.’

“There’s no other school that I could have gone to where I would have this amount of hands-on experience with the technology that I did. At this point as a senior in a BFA program, I might be touching a console for the first time. And I might be able to design for the first time. But I’ve already designed so many shows. I’m trusted to do things like take apart $1,000 lighting fixtures and clean them and put them all back together. That’s something that I could get nowhere else.”

— As told to Bryan Wendell