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Photo: John Mann

In the stage lighting box during a production of "Oliver". Back left Alison King, right Jennie Nicks. Front left Diana Morris, right Karl Hibbert.

Diana is wearing David Robins' cowboy hat - David is actually in the picture but you can hardly see him between Alison and Jennie. Karl was in charge of lighting for this production, I was just sitting in having opted out of running the show due to my A-level exams. Just visible behind Jennie are the old Strand resistive dimmers, used to control the house lighting or if we ran out of channels on the main board.

David Robins in the lighting box before the performance. Exam revision has obviously been forgotten (book of past questions on top of the cue sheet). David is reading, as ever, some science fiction tome from the library. The Le Carre was mine. The cassette tape is a Radio Caroline programme - it was quite impossible to listen to the radio in the Box due to the amount of radio interference generated by the thyristors.

Photo: John Mann, Kodachrome 64


Karl Hibbert at the controls. The lighting box had actually been designed as a projection room (for which purpose it was never used, to my knowledge), hence the small and awkwardly placed windows. This picture shows two of the methods of communication with backstage - the intercom and yes/no card. The intercom plugged into one of four available audio cables running to backstage but typically it didn't like the extra line length and used to burst into spontaneous oscillation. A microphone hanging above the stage connected to an ancient tape recorder to provide amplification of stage dialogue. This combined with holding the yes/no card against the window was our main means of communication.

Photo: John Mann, Kodachrome 64

I thought I'd add this picture which I took at the Chipping Norton Music Festival 2010. The lighting box has a new large window in place of the old three small ones, but through it is visible what looks like the same anglepoise lamp (covered with a gel) that we were using in 1980.

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