A passion for light

At the birth of every Dutch National Opera & Ballet production is an artistic team. One of this team’s areas of specialization is lighting design, because the right light and the right atmosphere are what bring a set to life. At Dutch National Opera & Ballet, we have a dedicated Lighting Department of 28 individuals who all share a passion for light. Divided into four teams, these talented people are responsible for ensuring that the lighting designer’s ideas are realised.

Yannick van Leeuwaarde

Lights off, spots on

The Lighting Department is one of the Technical Departments and responsible for the technical implementation of the lighting design for opera and ballet productions. A team of lighting managers is also on hand before, during and after the performances to manage the technical aspects and quickly resolve any issues that may arise.


Lighting operator

During the process of creating a production, the lighting operator determines the lighting settings for the performance based on the lighting design. During the performance, they work in the lighting booth at the back of the auditorium to ensure everything goes according to the plan.

Lighting technician

Lighting technician

Lighting technicians are responsible for the ‘hardware’: not only the lighting equipment hanging above, beside and behind the stage, but also the different lights hanging on the auditorium bridges and along balcony edges. Every production has its own composition of spotlights and other spots. In the run-up to the first rehearsals, a team of lighting technicians prepares, checks and puts in place the necessary cables.



Not only the set but also the dancers and singers need light to be able to give their best performance! To help them achieve this, they have ‘follow-spotters’. As the name suggests, the task of these individuals is to follow the dancers and singers on stage with a tight beam of light.

Did you know that ...

Until a few years ago, the world of theatre was still using halogen lamps with colour filters. Nowadays, however, use is increasingly being made of digitally controllable LED spots that create the most beautiful colours – also at Dutch National Opera & Ballet.

Bram Schipper


Behind the scenes: lighting

Lamps check
Checking the lamps during Sleeping Beauty | Photo: Liza-Kollau
lighting employee at work
Hang in the light
lighting employee at work
Lighting set from the auditorium
Technician checks the light
Technician checks the light
employee at work
Employee at work
During Sleeping Beauty
Employees at work during Sleeping Beauty
In the light cabin
Light operator at work in the light cabin
Light setting
Light setting Sleeping Beauty
Vanaf de zaalbrug
View from the auditorium bridge
From the side bridge
View from the side bridge
Ballet towers
Ballet towers in storage

Video: Playing with light

Despite being perhaps the most invisible part of Dutch National Opera & Ballet during performances, the Lighting Department plays a vital role. In this short video, you can see just what talented artists they are.

Playing with light

Playing with light