When Jenny Rider does her job well, audiences in a crowded theatre don’t even know she’s part of the show. Jenny is a second-year student at Purdue majoring in Theatre Design and Production, specializing in Lighting Design and Technology.
“It’s a lot more than it looks, you just see the actors on stage, and you see the set behind them,” Rider says about her work as the lead Lighting Designer for Failure, and other upcoming shows. “Lighting designers are always in the background, working months before the show starts, doing research, creating a lighting plot to shape how the show is perceived on stage.”
Rider also says that her work combines design, geometry and physics, as well as Electrical Engineering and programming. Unsurprisingly, most lighting designers start as Electrical Engineers and fall in love with the creative process. There’s a lot of collaboration and communication that goes into producing a show, and Rider says that being able to collaborate closely with professors and graduate students has been a benefit at Purdue that few other programs offer. She’s also discovered that her skills are in high demand, with career opportunities ranging from lighting on cruise ships, to Disney theme parks, and even architectural lighting.