Magazine

Archive: Damien Cooper

Date posted: 12 Apr 2016Author: STC Production: Dinner, A Midsummer Night's Dream

Damien Cooper

Damien Cooper is one of Australia's most prolific and well-regarded lighting designers. Alongside his swathe of theatre credits, he has also worked across dance, opera and film, and passes on his wisdom to students at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts.

His work has garnered accolades and awards, including three Sydney Theatre Awards, two Australian Production Design Guild Awards and three Melbourne Green Room Awards.

In 2016, Damien has already worked on three shows for us, with A Midsummer Night's Dream making it four. In 2017, he returns to create the lighting for Moira Buffini's viciously funny Dinner

Here, we look back at his extraordinary body of work for STC.

 

 

 

KING LEAR (2001)

Barry Otto and Susan Prior STC’s King Lear, 2001, for the Education Programme.  Photo: Tracey Schramm ©
One of Damien's earliest shows with STC was this Education production of King Lear with Barry Otto in the eponymous role, joined here by Susan Prior. (Photo: Tracey Schramm)

 

THE SHAPE OF THINGS (2003)

Two different lighting states from The Shape of Things, 2003. (Photos: Tracey Schramm)

 

THESE PEOPLE (2003)

Bojana Novakovic, Matthew Whittet and John Gregg in STC’s These People, 2003, for the STC Education Programme and Wharf 2 Blueprints.  Photo: Heidrun Löhr ©
Bojana Novakovic, Matthew Whittet and John Gregg in These People, 2003. (Photo: Heidrun Löhr)

 

MORPH (2003)

Socratis Otto in STC’s Morph, 2003, for Wharf 2 Blueprints.  Photo: Heidrun Lohr ©
Socratis Otto in Morph, 2003. (Photo: Heidrun Löhr)
Rita Kalnejais in STC’s Morph, 2003, for Wharf 2 Blueprints.  Photo: Heidrun Lohr ©
Rita Kalnejais in Morph, 2003. (Photo: Heidrun Löhr)

 

THYESTES (2004)

Peter Carroll and Frank Whitten in STC’s Thyestes, for Wharf 2 Blueprints.  Photo: HeidrunLohr ©
Peter Carroll and Frank Whitten in Thyestes. (Photo: Heidrun Löhr)

 

FAR AWAY (2004)

Sacha Horler and Brendan Cowell in Far Away, 2004.  Photo: Tania Kelley ©
Sacha Horler and Brendan Cowell in Far Away, 2004. (Photo: Tania Kelley)

 

BED (2005)

Daniel Wyllie and Thomas Campbell in STC’s Bed, for Wharf 2 Blueprints.  Photo: Tracey Schramm ©
Daniel Wyllie and Thomas Campbell in Bed. (Photo: Tracey Schramm)

 

THIS LITTLE PIGGY (2005)

Gwyneth Price, Gertraud Ingeborg and Matthew Whittet in STC’s This Little Piggy, 2005, for Wharf 2 Blueprints.  Photo: Heidrun Lohr ©
Gwyneth Price, Gertraud Ingeborg and Matthew Whittet in This Little Piggy, 2005. (Photo: Heidrun Löhr)

 

JULIUS CAESAR (2005)

Maddi Newling, Arthur Dignam and Charlie Garber in STC’s Julius Caesar, 2005.  Photo: Tania Kelley ©
Maddi Newling, Arthur Dignam and Charlie Garber in Julius Caesar, 2005. (Photo: Tania Kelley)
Phoenix Waddell, Arthur Dignam, Glenn Hazeldine, Anthony Weigh, Charlie Garber, Frank Whitten and John Leary in STC’s Julius Caesar, 2005.  Photo: Tania Kelley ©
Phoenix Waddell, Arthur Dignam, Glenn Hazeldine, Anthony Weigh, Charlie Garber, Frank Whitten and John Leary in Julius Caesar, 2005. (Photo: Tania Kelley)

 

SUMMER RAIN (2005)

STC’s Summer Rain, 2005.  Photo: James Morgan ©

Blazey Best and Mitchell Butel in STC’s Summer Rain, 2005.  Photo: James Morgan ©
Blazey Best and Mitchell Butel in Summer Rain, 2005. (Photo: James Morgan)

 

BOY GETS GIRL (2005)

Miranda Otto in STC’s Boy Gets Girl, 2005.  Photo: Heidrun Lohr ©
Miranda Otto in Boy Gets Girl, 2005. (Photo: Heidrun Löhr)

 

THE METAMORPHOSIS (2005)

Matthew Whittet and Kim Gyngell in The Metamorphosis, 2005, for Wharf2Blueprints, co-produced by STC and Malthouse.  Photo: Heidrun Lohr ©
Matthew Whittet and Kim Gyngell in The Metamorphosis, 2005. (Photo: Heidrun Löhr)

 

THE CHERRY ORCHARD (2005)

John Gaden, Robyn Nevin and Philip Quast in STC’s The Cherry Orchard, 2005.  Photo: Heidrun Lohr ©
John Gaden, Robyn Nevin and Philip Quast in The Cherry Orchard, 2005. (Photo: Heidrun Löhr)

 

A HARD GOD (2006)

David Lyons and Ben Mathews in STC’s A Hard God, 2006.  Photo: Tracey Schramm ©
David Lyons and Ben Mathews in A Hard God, 2006. (Photo: Tracey Schramm)

 

THE LOST ECHO, PTS 1 & 2 (2006)

"On The Lost Echo, I remember there was this single footlight. It was one very, very bright projector globe that cast shadows onto the white set. It was very beautiful – I love a real, moving shadow. And Barrie Kosky turned around to me during rehearsals and asked, 'What if it blows?' I said, 'Oh, it'll never blow.' Then it blew in the next dress rehearsal. I learned from that to double rig important single lights like that, which means there's always a backup in place."

The Lost Echo was an enormous two-part production, directed by Barrie Kosky. Below are scenes from both parts, featuring Colin Moody, Paul Capsis, John Gaden, Peter Carroll, Dan Spielman and Martin Blum. (Photos: Heidrun Löhr and Tania Kelley)

Colin Moody and Paul Capsis in STC’s The Lost Echo, pt 1, 2006.  Photo: Heidrun Lohr ©
Colin Moody and Paul Capsis in The Lost Echo, pt 1, 2006. (Photo: Heidrun Lohr)

Martin Blum in STC’s The Lost Echo, pt2, 2006.  Photo: Tania Kelley ©
Martin Blum in The Lost Echo, pt2, 2006. (Photos: Tania Kelley)

 

FAT PIG (2006)

Katrina Milosovic and James Saunders in STC’s Fat Pig, 2006.  Photo: Heidrun Lohr ©
Katrina Milosovic and James Saunders in Fat Pig, 2006. (Photo: Heidrun Löhr)

 

YING TONG - A WALK WITH THE GOONS (2007)

The set of STC’s Ying Tong – A Walk with the Goons, 2007.  Photo: Heidrun Lohr ©
The set of Ying Tong – A Walk with the Goons, 2007. (Photo: Heidrun Löhr)

 

SELF ESTEEM (2007)

Robyn McLeavy, Betty Lucas, Tim Richards, Toby Schmitz, Russell Kiefel and Heather Mitchell in STC’s Self Esteem, 2007, for Wharf 2LOUD.  Photo: Jimmy Pozarik ©
Robyn McLeavy, Betty Lucas, Tim Richards, Toby Schmitz, Russell Kiefel and Heather Mitchell in Self Esteem, 2007. (Photo: Jimmy Pozarik)

 

THE ART OF WAR (2007)

The cast of STC’s The Art of War, 2007, surround Brandon Burke.  Photo: Tania Kelly ©
The cast of The Art of War, 2007, surround Brandon Burke. (Photo: Tania Kelly)

 

RIFLEMIND (2007)

Hugo Weaving and Jeremy Simms in STC’s Riflemind, 2007.  Photo: Brett Boardman ©
Hugo Weaving and Jeremy Simms in Riflemind, 2007. (Photo: Brett Boardman)

 

THE GREAT (2008)

Robin McLeavy in STC’s The Great, 2008.  Photo: Heidrun Lohr ©
Robin McLeavy in The Great, 2008. (Photo: Heidrun Löhr)

 

THE WOMEN OF TROY (2008)

Natalie Gamsu, Queenie van de Zandt, Jenny Vuletic and Robyn Nevin in STC’s The Women of Troy, 2008.  Photo: Tracey Schramm ©
Natalie Gamsu, Queenie van de Zandt, Jenny Vuletic and Robyn Nevin in The Women of Troy, 2008. (Photo: Tracey Schramm)

 

THE DUEL (2009)

Luke Mullins, David Lee Smyth, Renee McIntosh and Brian Lipson in The Duel, 2009, co-produced by STC and ThinIce.  Photo: Tracey Schramm ©
Luke Mullins, David Lee Smyth, Renee McIntosh and Brian Lipson in The Duel, 2009. (Photo: Tracey Schramm)

 

TOT MOM (2009)

Wayne Blair and Essie Davis (on screen) in STC’s Tot Mom, 2009.  Photo: Lisa Tomasetti ©
Wayne Blair and Essie Davis (on screen) in Tot Mom, 2009. (Photo: Lisa Tomasetti)

 

HONOUR (2010)

Paula Arundell and Willliam Zappa in STC’s Honour, 2010.  Photo:  Brett Boardman ©
Paula Arundell and Willliam Zappa in Honour, 2010. (Photo: Brett Boardman)

 

ORESTEIA (2010)

Sophie Ross, Cameron Goodall, Tahki Saul, Brett Stiller, Zindzi Okenyo, Richard Pyros, Alice Ansara, Ursula Mills and Julia Ohannessian in STC’s Oresteia, 2010.  Photo: Brett Boardman ©
Sophie Ross, Cameron Goodall, Tahki Saul, Brett Stiller, Zindzi Okenyo, Richard Pyros, Alice Ansara, Ursula Mills and Julia Ohannessian in Oresteia, 2010. (Photo: Brett Boardman)

 

ZEBRA! (2011)

Colin Friels and Nadine Garner in STC’s ZEBRA!, 2011.  Photo: Brett Boardman ©
Colin Friels and Nadine Garner in ZEBRA!, 2011. (Photo: Brett Boardman)

 

EDWARD GANT'S AMAZING FEATS OF LONELINESS (2011)

Lindsay Farris, Emily Tomlins and Paul Bishop in Edward Gant's Amazing Feats of Loneliness, 2011, co-produced by STC and La Boite Theatre Company.  Photo: Brett Boardman ©
Lindsay Farris, Emily Tomlins and Paul Bishop in Edward Gant's Amazing Feats of Loneliness, 2011. (Photo: Brett Boardman)

 

BLOOD WEDDING (2011)

Julia Ohannessian in STC’s Blood Wedding, 2011.  Photo: Brett Boardman ©
Julia Ohannessian in Blood Wedding, 2011. (Photo: Brett Boardman)

 

BLOODLAND (2011)

Rhimi Johnson Page and Meyne Wyatt in STC’s Bloodland, 2011.  Photo:  Danielle Lyonne ©
Rhimi Johnson Page and Meyne Wyatt in Bloodland, 2011. (Photo: Danielle Lyonne)

 

PYGMALION (2012)

Andrea Demetriades and Marco Chiappi in STC’s Pygmalion, 2012.  Photo: Brett Boardman ©
Andrea Demetriades and Marco Chiappi in Pygmalion, 2012. (Photo: Brett Boardman)

 

UNDER MILK WOOD (2012)

Drew Livingston, Helen Thomson and Bruce Spence in STC’s Under Milk Wood – A Play for Voices, 2012.  Photo: Heidrun Löhr ©
Drew Livingston, Helen Thomson and Bruce Spence in Under Milk Wood – A Play for Voices, 2012. (Photo: Heidrun Löhr)

 

THE SPLINTER (2012)

Helen Thomson and Julia Ohannessian in STC’s The Splinter, 2012.  Photo: Brett Boardman ©
Helen Thomson and Julia Ohannessian in The Splinter, 2012. (Photo: Brett Boardman)

 

STORM BOY (2013/15)

Michael Smith, Rory Potter, Peter O’Brien and Trevor Jamieson in Storm Boy, 2013, co-produced by Sydney Theatre Company and Barking Gecko Theatre Company.  Photo: Brett Boardman ©
Michael Smith, Rory Potter, Peter O’Brien and Trevor Jamieson in Storm Boy, 2013. (Photo: Brett Boardman)
Anthony Mayor in the 2015 return of Storm Boy, co-produced by Sydney Theatre Company and Barking Gecko Theatre Company.  Photo: Brett Boardman ©
Anthony Mayor in the 2015 return of Storm Boy. (Photo: Brett Boardman)

 

THE LONG WAY HOME (2014)

Odile Le Clezio, Tim Loch and David Cantley in The Long Way Home, 2014, co-produced by Sydney Theatre Company and the Australian Defence Force.  Photo: Lisa Tomasetti ©
Odile Le Clezio, Tim Loch and David Cantley in The Long Way Home, 2014. (Photo: Lisa Tomasetti)

 

CHILDREN OF THE SUN (2014)

The cast of Sydney Theatre Company’s production of Children of the Sun, 2014.  Photo: Brett Boardman ©
The cast of Children of the Sun, 2014. (Photo: Brett Boardman)

 

CYRANO DE BERGERAC (2014)

"How much emphasis do you put on the nose? You could do shadow-play and the like but there was a design decision not to make it too comical yet still give it its 'noseness'."

It was Richard Roxburgh who played His Noseness in this production directed by Andrew Upton. Pictured here is Eryn Jean Norvill as Roxane, bound for the nunnery. (Photo: Brett Boardman)

Eryn Jean Norvill in STC’s Cyrano de Bergerac, 2014.  Photo: Brett Boardman ©


 

SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER (2015)

Director Kip Williams refigured Tennessee Williams' one-act play using live video and projection to amplify this dark psychological thriller. Pictured here are Eryn Jean Norvill, whose character's traumatic memories form the heart of the play, and Paula Arundell, her chaperone. Mark Leonard Winter's psychiatrist can be seen hovering in the background. For Damien, lighting the production was a fun challenge. (Photo: Brett Boardman)

"In Act 1, the audience basically didn't see an actor live on stage, it was all seen through the cameras and projection. That meant I was lighting the show from backstage, which is an unusual experience. I not only had to balance the lights in terms of the actual space the actors are moving in, but also come back round to the audience side and consider how it looked on camera and balance that too."

Eryn Jean Norvill and Paula Arundell in STC’s Suddenly Last Summer, 2015.  Photo: Brett Boardman ©


 

ARMS AND THE MAN (2015)

Andrea Demetriades in STC’s Arms and the Man, 2015.  Photo: Heidrun Löhr ©
Andrea Demetriades in Arms and the Man, 2015. (Photo: Heidrun Löhr)

 

ORLANDO (2015)

Luisa Hastings Edge and Jacqueline McKenzie in STC’s Orlando, 2015.  Photo: Prudence Upton ©
Luisa Hastings Edge and Jacqueline McKenzie in Orlando, 2015. (Photo: Prudence Upton)

 

THE GOLDEN AGE (2016)

Louis Nowra's uniquely Australian epic was directed by Kip Willliams. In this photo we see Rarriwuy Hick (Betsheb) and Brandon McClelland (Francis) as their characters get to know each other. As Damien recalls, David Fleischer's set design gave him plenty to work with.

"The soil is a wonderful texture to work with. It's changed by the performers, it has footprints, dents and corruptions. You find the right angle and you see all the texture, then you can come at it differently and wash it out. It was quite beautiful to light." (Photo: Lisa Tomasetti)

Rarriwuy Hick and Brandon McClelland in STC’s The Golden Age, 2016.  Photo: Lisa Tomasetti ©


 

ARCADIA (2016)

Combining romance, comedy, garden design, botany, chaos theory and poetry, Arcadia is a complex play artfully constructed by writer Tom Stoppard. Pictured here, Georgia Flood, Will McDonald and Michael Sheasby are all sitting at the same table, but their characters are separated by 200 years of history and science. In putting together the production, director Richard Cottrell wanted to ensure its clarity above all. As Damien explains, lighting the stage to achieve clarity is not just about turning all the lights on. (Photo: Heidrun Löhr)

"It might have looked like there were only six lighting cues in the whole show, but there were actually two hundred. To achieve the clarity and level of brightness that director Richard Cottrell likes, we were using quite large amounts of light but chasing the cast as they moved around the stage in a subtle, hopefully indiscernible way."

Georgia Flood, Will McDonald and Michael Sheasby in Sydney Theatre Company’s Arcadia, 2016.  Photo: Heidrun Löhr ©


 

DISGRACED (2016)

Sachin Joab in Disgraced, 2016. (Photo: Prudence Upton)

 

 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 12 Sep – 22 Oct 2016, Wharf 1 Theatre

Dinner, 11 Sep – 28 Oct 2017, Wharf 1 Theatre

 

Seeing the show? Let us know your thoughts. Tag @sydneytheatreco and #STCMidsummer or #STCDinner

 

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