Assistant Lighting Design Training with Design Incubator

2020 recipient Nathan Bruce


Design Incubator is embarking on a Pilot Project to better train Assistant Lighting Designers in Canada. Assistant Lighting Design training is an important part of a Lighting Designer’s evolution. Design Incubator recognizes that there is no structured training for Assistant Lighting Designers in Canada.

There is great value in training in the “real world” as a production is being put together. This facilitates the learning of the fundamental processes of lighting design. Assistant Lighting Designers need to experience, participate and be fully immersed in the process of lighting design — from early discussions about initial design concepts through to the production’s opening night.

Design Incubator sees this Pilot Project as a focused study with a progressive outcome, providing great benefits to future Assistant Lighting Designers. By gathering data from the Pilot Project we can begin to structure a complete and permanent training program.

The Pilot Project is structured to build relationships between Assistant Lighting Designers, Lighting Designers, Production Electricians, and the Creative Team in three Toronto theatres — establishing connections between each others artistry.

What is Design Incubator?

Design Incubator is a leading-edge, advanced training program for theatre Lighting Designers in Canada. This program’s focus goes beyond the technical and theoretical aspects of theatre lighting design. Design Incubator recognizes the need for artistic, creative and academic training that is innovative and bold in preparing students to be free-thinking artists, storytellers, innovators and leaders in their profession. Design Incubator will provide practical, hands-on training to better prepare students for a successful beginning to a career in lighting design.

As the lighting design candidate transitions from student to theatre professional, Design Incubator will fully support the young designer throughout their first professional year and beyond.

What does the Pilot Project offer to the successful applicant?

The Pilot Project is student-centric, driven by the needs of the Assistant Lighting Designer while encouraging an environment of artistic self analysis. In collaboration with the Lighting Designer and the Production Electrician the successful candidate will set his/her own learning objectives.

It is mandatory to Design Incubator that the Assistant Lighting Designer is highly visible in this inaugural training program. The Assistant Lighting Designer must participate fully in the design process from initial design meetings through to opening night. There must be action, doing and a hands-on approach to this training by the successful applicant.

Each production will focus on four main areas to help the Assistant Lighting Designer identify and solve the gaps in their training: artistic, theoretical, technical and communication. At the same time Design Incubator, the Lighting Designers and the Production Electricians will challenge the Assistant Lighting Designer throughout the process as they work towards establishing their artistry and style.

The three theatrical productions will offer three distinct design experiences for the Assistant Lighting Designer. The three Lighting Designers will be fully committed to supporting, training fully and guiding the Assistant Lighting Designer through the Pilot Project and beyond.

The Pilot Project Participants

  • One Assistant Lighting Designer chosen from the applicants (paid $2,500.00 per show)
  • Three theatrical production teams including each production’s Lighting Designer and Production Electrician
  • Three Toronto theatres who are hosting the Pilot Project:
  • Lesley Wilkinson, Lighting Designer, Founder and Director of Design Incubator

Who should apply?

Applicants of all backgrounds will be considered for this opportunity and must be residents of Toronto (defined as either current resident or resident in the past) and reside in Toronto during the Pilot Project. Funding will not be provided for housing, food, or transportation.

Applicants must be prepared to make a commitment to the full length of the three theatrical productions from initial design meetings through to Opening Night.

The Pilot Project will run during the 2020/2021 Theatre Season in Toronto, with specific dates to be determined.

  • Successful applicants will have completed a certificate/degree in Theatre Technical Production/Lighting Design in the 2019/2020 academic year.


  • Emerging Lighting Designers at the beginning of their professional careers and not more than 18 months since the completion of their college/university training.


  • Emerging Lighting Designers with no formal academic training but with demonstrated theatre lighting design experience within the 12 months prior to the application deadline.

How to apply?

Qualified applicants are invited to email the following:

  • Resume
    A one-page resume describing academic, professional, and other relevant experience.
  • Personal Statement
    A summary of your professional theatre goals as they relate to your future career aspirations, how you plan to achieve them, and how the Design Incubator Pilot Project will help you.
  • Lighting Design paperwork from your academic or professional experience — Lighting Plot and its corresponding Instrument Schedule, Channel Schedule and Magic Sheet.
  • References
    Contact details for two references who can speak to your professional achievements and qualities relevant to The Design Incubator Pilot Project (name, title, organization, contact information).


The candidates will be selected and interviewed by an independent committee of theatre professionals. Candidates selected for an interview and candidates not selected will be contacted by email.


The deadline to submit applications is Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 5:00 pm.


  • Please send any questions regarding this opportunity to Lesley Wilkinson, Lighting Designer at:
  • If you are having technical issues with your application please contact Alexis Da Silva-Powell, TAPA at:

Submit Your Application

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