Lighting designer and teacher Sofia Alexiadou: ‘Inspiration hides in the most unpredictable places’
How did you start in theatre?
During my master’s degree in Theatre Studies, I watched a performance of Henry IV (Enrico IV) by Luigi Pirandello, directed by Dimitris Mavrikios at the National Theatre of Greece in Athens. I then realised I wanted to be part of the creative team. Shortly after my graduation, I started working as an assistant lighting designer and slowly began designing lights for my own shows working with friends.
What is the best piece of advice you have for students today?
Be interested in everything – from theatre to architecture, and dance to fashion. Inspiration hides in the most unpredictable places.
What would you change about training in the UK?
I would remove the marks from the assessments. It takes a lot of effort to make my students realise nobody in the industry cares for the classification of their degree but for their skill set acquired through their time in training.
What is the best part of your job?
Seeing students evolve through their studies. It is an honour to be part of that journey.
And your least favourite?
I am not sure there are any negative pages in my book. I feel blessed.
Who are the practitioners you admire the most/who should students look up to?
That could be a long list. I always advise my students to research first-class lighting designers, and to look into the work of less famous ones in order to elaborate their style.
What is the one skill that every successful theatre/dance professional should have?
Politeness and tolerance. Every person in a production is equally important.
Why should someone study theatre?
They will forge friendships that last a lifetime, meet future collaborators and form companies, but first and foremost these will be the most fun three years of their lives.
Sofia Alexiadou was talking to John Byrne