Making it happen: The Lighting guy

'It is our signature event'

Last updated 11:05 12/02/2013
Aaron Chesham
Chris Hillock/FAIRFAX NZ

Aaron Chesham is accustomed to the complex logistics of lighting the Gardens Festival.

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A lot of talented people are pulling together for the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival - from the ground up. Denise Irvine meets five of them.

This is a second of five stories we will bring to you over the week to celebrate this year's Gardens Arts Festival.

Aaron Chesham runs Hamilton firm ACLX Lighting and he's been shining a light on the festival almost since its inception.

''I started off working on lighting at Hamilton Gardens for the Turtle Lake concerts a long time ago.


My background is in theatre and I've done lighting design for Hamilton Operatic for the past 10 years.

I'm doing the lighting design for Operatic's Hairspray (Feb 22-Mar 9, Founders Theatre), so it's a busy time. The logistics are pretty huge for the Gardens Festival.

Michael Lamusse from ACLX works closely with me; there are usually three of us in the main team and we rope in others as needed.

The festival has everything from very small shows that require a few lights to the big events. And we have to pull them out each night, putthem back the next for another performance. At the end of two weeks, everyone's pretty tired. It is a big ask. We land a big container in there [Hamilton Gardens] and we work out of it.

We prep each show into big road cases, take them in a van as close [to the various venues] as we can get, then roll in the cases.

I like the Gardens Festival. We're working indoors 90 per cent of the year and an outdoor festival in the middle of summer is very different for us. It is our signature event.

It is nice to have that theatre genre in the magical space of the gardens. It makes such a pretty environment, and we can light the trees.We can use an LED product that doesn't need a lot of power, and we do some nice things for the shows.

It's interesting because we set up the lighting in daylight and there is no opportunity to check it before the show starts at night. You have to envisage it without seeing it."

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