WACKIT: Lighting Design Contest

Lighting Designer, Durham Marenghi joins forces with CAST Group and Claypaky to create a virtual lighting competition – giving lighting professionals and scholars something to strive for during this uncertain time.

Last month, Claypaky and CAST Group of Companies announced the WACKIT virtual lighting design competition, a concept created by award-winning Lighting Designer, Durham Marenghi and his partner, Jennie.

“We were all sat in lockdown and coming towards November when we are usually working on Classical Spectacular in the Albert Hall,” reminisced Marenghi, discussing the origin of the competition. “At the same time, I was doing many design pitches for next year on WYSIWYG. With that in mind, we came up with the idea of giving those in the industry something to do during this hard time.”

WACKIT comprises two side-by-side competitions for professional and student lighting designers in the UK and Ireland to create a virtual video of their work from a model of the Prestigious Royal Albert Hall. CAST will support WACKIT with free WYSIWYG educational licences for the period of the competition for professional LDs and, in the case of students, a 12-month free design educational licence.

For the competition, Marenghi contributed his own digital model of the Albert Hall with the Classical Spectacular rig, so that everyone entering the competition must use the same amount of equipment. “We’ve also picked four pieces of classical music that we know work, limiting it to four minutes, or they can choose a piece of contemporary music,” stated Marenghi.

There are three amazing prizes to be won in both competitions for both the professional and student categories including first place winners being awarded a full year licence to WYSIWYG, a £1,000 Amazon voucher and a trip to Claypaky’s headquarters in Italy, when it is safe to do so.

Once designers in both categories enter, their work will be judged on social media by the wider community to define 10 finalists from each group. A jury of lighting experts featuring Paule Constable, David Bishop and Davy Sherwin, chaired by Marenghi, will judge these finalists in January 2021.

Marenghi discussed the origins of the event and why it had come at just the right time for the industry: “As the clocks go back and we enter a darker time in our lives, we wanted to support our peers, both old and new, by offering something creative and worthwhile to do. We hope that the WACKIT competition will be embraced by an industry hard done to, bring a little light into these difficult times and showcase the lighting talent that abounds in the UK and Ireland.”

Marenghi also discussed what he, as a judge, would be looking for in the designs. “The way I see a design is it has to have a real feeling of progression, building from start to finish in empathy with the music and creating powerful ‘looks’ that remain as snapshots in the memory of the audience long after they have left the building. That’s another reason why I chose classical music, which has less of a conventional structure to pop and rock.”

To close, Marenghi was keen to thank the main supporters of the WACKIT. “A massive thank you to CAST and Claypaky for bringing this vision to life.” Entries to the competition are still open, and further information is available on the WACKIT website below.

This article originally appeared in issue #256 of TPi, which you can read here.