One of the best-selling artists of all time, Tina Turner’s fascinating life story has now been turned into a stage show with TINA – The Tina Turner Musical. Written by Olivier Award-winning playwright Katori Hall, the show charts Tina’s humble beginnings in Nutbush, Tennesee to her transformation into the global Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll. The show is playing at the Aldwych Theatre in London’s West End and as a leading lighting supplier to some of the biggest shows in the country, White Light was called upon to provide the lighting equipment.

TINA – The Tina Turner Musical is directed by the internationally-acclaimed Phyllida Lloyd and features a lighting design by Bruno Poet. Bruno comments: “My brief for the show was to help tell this extraordinary story and make the performers come alive within Mark Thompson’s elegant design. The set frames the actors beautifully and is very stripped back, with the focus being on the human story. There are also around 40 scenes in different locations, and the lighting needs to support that sense of time and place. Added to this were several concert scenes so I had to create a design that matched this energy”.

To achieve this, Bruno approached WL in order to draw on his ideal rig. He explains: “It was a combination of experimenting with new units that I felt might be useful in combination with tried and tested favourites. I was really keen to move away from discharge light sources and more towards the latest LED fixtures. I also needed a really flexible rig that could offer a full-on concert experience at the end of the show, but also work with the more nuanced, delicate scenes. I was also determined to have a very quiet rig. Even a musical has quiet moments and hearing fan noise is a personal pet hate of mine”.

The equipment Bruno drew on included the LED MAC Encore Cold, the VL550, the MAC Aura XB, GLP X4 Battens and the ETC Source 4 Lustr 2s. He explains: “With the MAC Encore Cold, this is the first LED source I’ve found that gives the cold discharge look of something like a MAC Viper but can also do a convincing tungsten warm. With the Auras, these have great zoom range, brilliant colours and can be used for punchy, beamy looks. The set design cried out for curtains of light and the GLP X4 Battens allowed me to achieve this, while taking up virtually no space in the grid. I also drew on Portman P2s for the big concert finale, along with Clay Paky Sharpys. The desk I drew on was an EOS which I often draw on for theatre productions”.

The decision to what type of lighting equipment to draw on was much discussed in the pre-production stages of the show. Bruno explains: “As the show spans several decades, we did contemplate, using equipment and styles that would be accurate from that timeline. However, looking at this in detail we realised that this could be very dull for a modern audience! That said, I did make myself some ground rules – you don’t see moving lights moving until we get to the late 1980s”.

TINA: The Tina Turner Musical has now opened to critical acclaim and has already been extended to February 2019. Bruno comments: “This was a fantastic production to be a part of. I was supported by an amazing team which included Max Narula as Associate, Warren Letton as Programmer and Sam Floyd as Production Electrician. I really enjoyed collaborating with Jeff Sugg, the Video and Projection Designer, as this was one of those shows where lights and projection worked as one. Similarly, I was surrounded by a brilliant stage management team, especially Sarah Seymour our DSM whose calling of the finale is poetic and a masterclass in timing”.

Photos courtesy of Manuel Harlan.