LD Mikkel Bedsted on Lighting for the Jack the Ripper Musical

by Stage Directions
Jack The Ripper at Folketeatret in Copenhagen, with lighting design by Mikkel Bedsted. Photos by: ©Ole Overgaard
Jack The Ripper at Folketeatret in Copenhagen, with lighting design by Mikkel Bedsted. Photos by: ©Ole Overgaard

In lighting Musicalteatret’s Jack the Ripper musical at Copenhagen’s intimate Folketeatret (People’s Theater), lighting designer Mikkel Bedsted faced some major lighting challenges. Bedsted’s main challenge was the venue’s limited weight loading. With the small theater’s fly bars able to support only around 125kg, it became essential that his lighting fixtures were lightweight and compact in size.

Versatility was also a crucial factor, as the more functions a single fixture could fulfil, the fewer units would be needed overall. Next, as the show’s designer, operator, and sole lighting technician, Bedsted required maximum reliability. And, of course, he needed quality performance – including high output, excellent optics and advanced theater lighting features. He found his solutions in the new VL2600 Profile, the versatile LED stage luminaire from Vari-Lite, a Signify entertainment lighting brand.

Jack The Ripper at Folketeatret in Copenhagen, with lighting design by Mikkel Bedsted. Photos by: ©Ole Overgaard

Fortunately, through supplier Live Company, Bedsted sourced 14 of the new compact, lightweight and feature-packed VL2600 Profiles from Vari-Lite. He placed five on each of the front-stage and upstage overhead lighting bars, plus four in front-light positions. “The VL2600 is my workhorse fixture on this show,” he says. “With its power and zoom range, I can use it as a wash light, a profile and a spot. The big feature for me is to get that much output from such a relatively small light.”

Bedsted values the VL2600’s theater-friendly features, including color temperature control. “The CTO wheel is really, really nice to have,” he says. “I don’t think I could have lit this show without the CTO wheel. I use it a lot in transitions of time and place.”

Jack The Ripper at Folketeatret in Copenhagen, with lighting design by Mikkel Bedsted. Photos by: ©Ole Overgaard

The designer also frequently uses the internal framing shutters and top-hat mechanism to shape and guide his light. “Vari-Lite have always been famous for their shuttering modules,” he says. “I use the framing a lot. Sometimes we have actors walking out in the auditorium, and I use the framing to cut out stage areas and keep the focus on the action.”

Commenting on the VL2600’s light quality, he says, “I can achieve the colors that I want and the skin tones that I want. In our cast, we have lighter and darker tones of skin, and many different costumes, but the VL2600 is always up to the job. The quality is great.”

Jack The Ripper at Folketeatret in Copenhagen, with lighting design by Mikkel Bedsted. Photos by: ©Ole Overgaard

Using relatively few fixtures, Bedsted’s lighting design succeeds in creating a close atmosphere, with convincing interiors and smooth transitions, defining time and place while powerfully enhancing the show’s dark themes. He concludes, “The details in the Vari-Lite make it a better choice for theater. I will definitely use them again.”

Further information from Vari-Lite: www.vari-lite.com