Lighting Theatre & Auditorium Spaces | Standards Michigan

Lighting Theatre & Auditorium Spaces

We see the pace of standards action in the IES suite as highly competent, fair and relatively brisk; owed largely to strong manufacturer (i.e, MANUFACTURER/PRODUCER interest) financial support for volunteers on IES committees. Subject matter experts for the USER interest in the education industry -- a very large market for illumination technologies -- has no such support. Volunteers for the user interest cannot charge their professional time and travel to "business development" at the same scale (if at all) the way a manufacturer member of the IES can. It is a wicked problem; one that we explain at length in our ABOUT. Every education facility trade association depends upon illumination technology manufacturer support to some degree.


Lighting Theatre & Auditorium Spaces

June 26, 2020

“Le Chahut” / Georges Seurat (1889)


“Love art in yourself, and not yourself in art.”

― Constantin Stanislavski


With illumination technology an essential part of the safety of audiences and subjects, and the quality and character of art and entertainment events, we follow action in the consensus products of the Illumination Engineering Society; its library linked below:

IES Lighting Library

The IES has a number of products of a general nature that apply to the education industry; among them the American National Standard Practice on Lighting for Educational Facilities.   We find them incorporated by reference into design guidelines and construction contracts; especially The Lighting Handbook, 10th Edition.

Our interest today lies in IES DG-20 Stage Lighting – A Guide to Planning of Theatres and Auditoriums. updated to add content for stage lighting controls; interfacing with networks, houselight design, control, and performance including emergency lighting, stage worklight and cue light systems; LED and automated stage lighting instruments; power distribution for stage and houselighting systems; and future proofing systems.  The roll out of power-over-ethernet lighting is a driver for immediate revisions as wiring fire safety principles evolve from the National Electrical Code.  Anyone who has ever purchased a ticket for a Broadway (New York) performance event, may understand (in dollar terms), the complexity of these events and the transfer cost to design, build, operate and maintain the complex electrotechnologies that make them successful.  We see many changes to the firmware governing event technologies crossing our radar.

The IES has released a closely related product — IES RP-41 Recommended Practice: Lighting Theater, Auditorium, and Worship Spaces —  for public review:

IES Standards Open for Public Review

Comments are due March 9th.  We always our colleagues to communicate directly with IES staff about securing the review drafts (Contact Albert Suen,  The IES is always looking for subject matter experts to contribute to its consensus products; though it struggles, as do most ANSI-accredited standards developers, to achieve balance.   We encourage user interests in the education industry — facility managers, front-line operations and maintenance personnel, design engineers and sustainability specialists who have operations and maintenance data; and workpoint understanding of #TotalCostofOwnership concepts — to participate in the IES standards development process.   CLICK HERE to get started.

Because of the ubiquity of lighting technology IES products are on the standing agenda of several of our monthly teleconferences — Electrical, Healthcare, Athletic & Recreation, Arts & Entertainment.   We collaborate closely with the IEEE Education & Healthcare Facilities Committee.   See our CALENDAR for the next online meeting; open to everyone.



Issue: [14-110]

Category: Electrical, Arts & Entertainment, Lighting

Colleagues: Mike Anthony, Jim Harvey, Kane Howard


Pennsylvania State University Engineering Student Thesis on Auditorium Lighting

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