18th Century

Cesky Krumlov Footlight Elevator

The footlight elevator is essentially a parallelogram. The base is fixed, the top (which has the candles mounted on it is movable. Four upright beams are joined to top and base boards with bolts. As the uprights are moved from a vertical position to an angled position the top board drop below stage level. controlled by a winch located near the downstage wall in the substage area. It winds up a rope attached one of the pivoting upright beams moving the beam from vertical to angled position.

Footlight Elevator

Litomysl Footlight Elevator

At Litomysl long narrow elevators raise the lamps to the stage level. This elevator is operated by a ratchet winch that rotates a shaft that used rack and pinion gears to raise the elevator.

Footlight Gears Footlights

Mnichovo Hradiste Footlight Hood

At Mnichovo Hradiste a hood pivots up from under the stage to block the light from the candles. It is operated when a small winch at the prompter's location is turned.

Mnichovo Hradiste Footlight Hood

Cesky Krumlov Wing Brackets

At Cesky Krumlov removable brackets are attached to the wing frames. The brackets have two hooks at the top that allow positioning the brackets to allow the light to shine onstage or offstage.

Cesky Krumlov Lighting Bracket Photo

See 18th Century Lighting Gallery

Litomysl Lighting Panels

At Litomysl a series of boards are located behind the wings. A pin at the top of the board fits in a bracket attached to the overhead framework; the base of the board sets on the floor. Lamps are mounted in rings attached to the board. Each board may be turned to shine onstage or offstage.

Litomysl Lighting Panel

See 18th Century Lighting Gallery

Mnichovo Hradiste Rotating Poles

At Mnichovo Hradiste a rotating pole is located behind each wing. By turning the pole the light can shine onstage or offstage. This is a common lighting method in 18th century theatres. A similar technique was described in Tessin's 17th century travel diary.

Mnichovo Hradiste Lighting Poles Photo

See 18th Century Lighting Gallery 

Lighting Change at Mnichovo Hradiste

The following QT movie shows a complete light change at the court theatre in Mnichovo Hradiste. First the footlight hood pivots up to block the light, then the poles behind the wings rotate to shine the candle light offstage.

Mnichovo Hradiste Lighting Change

the development of scenice spectacle


usittThis material is made possible, in part, by a grant from the New Initiatives Fund, United States Institute for Theatre Technology and by grants from the University Research Council, Cratis D. Williams Graduate School, Appalachian State University.


Dr. Frank Mohler
Department of Theatre & Dance
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608

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