Gard Gitlestad

Lighting design for stage

Frikar - «Skaut»

Lighting design for the performance Skaut by the dance company Frikar. The performance revolves around themes like gender roles, traditions and clothing. Frikar decribes the piece as follows:

«What is considered feminine and masculine behaviour when dancing? What happens to the outdated and old-fashioned gender roles when there are only women on-stage? These are questions that choreographer Hallgrim Hansegård asks in Frikar's new production Skaut.

In Norway and other parts of the world, clothes and physical work has traditionally been different between women and men. Regarding clothes and headwear, Norway found that the hijab entered where the traditional Norwegian head covering, skaut, faded out. The reflection on traditional head covering is in centre for Skaut, which consists of five female contributing dancers.»

The lighting design explores contrasts in intensities and colour temperatures, and also includes custom-built illuminated Halling staves. Wooden staves are traditionally used in some kinds of Norwegian folk dance, but for this occasion they were replaced with battery-powered internally illuminated Plexiglas tubes, which are both used choreographically and spatially, creating zones of light and darkness when moved around on stage by the dancers.

Costume design by Inger Hallström Stinnerbom, music composed by Erlend Apneseth Trio.

Performance photos/video by Antero Hein

Brageteatret - «Psykt Blod»

A theatre performance at Brageteatret, directed by Even Torgan, where a teacher takes an unruly gang of students hostage to teach them about Friedrich Schiller's «The Robbers». Through a mix of somber gravity and surreal humour, the play discusses themes of identity, religion, power relations and violence.

The lighting is designed to follow the transitions between realism and absurdity; much like in a real classroom, the lighting is provided by dull fluorescent tubes in the ceiling, but as the play gets gradually more unhinged, so does the lighting, using light and smoke integrated in set pieces, and unexpected colour changes in the otherwise bleak ambient light.

The performance is an adaptation of «Verrücktes Blut» by Nurkan Erpulat and Jens Hillje.

Scenography and costume design by Karoline Sundsrud.

Performance photos by Signe Fulgesteg Luksengard.

Brageteatret - «Indigo Englehår»

A theatre performance (bordering a musical) at Brageteatret, written by Fredrik Høyer and directed by Nils Petter Mørland, concerning the challenges, concerns and existensial crises of youthhood.

The lighting design merges the techniques of theatrical lighting and live concert lighting, while also dealing with the practical challences of having the audience seated on two opposing sides. In addition, a dozen odd square metres of LED dance floor tiles was involved.

Scenography and costume design by Katja Ebbel, music by Peter Michelsen.

Performance photos by Signe Fulgesteg Luksengard.

kfQW - «Watch/2016»

Lighting design for the dance performance «Watch» by Karen Foss Quiet Works at Dansens Hus in Oslo – a performance which, to quote the choreographer, «involves further investigation into [...] unpredictability, speed and rampant exortion, shaped into a shifty and impatiently smouldering play».

The design was developed at during a residency at the Vitlycke Centre for Performing Arts. It involved a forest of suspended LED tubes, as well as a lighting plot for a rather complex performance with six dancers and one cellist on stage, and a combination of choreographed and improvised dance.

Scenography by Susanne Irene Fjørtoft, music composed by Jostein Stalheim.

Performance still photos by Stein Jarle Nilsen

kfQW - «Wide/Clear/2018»

Lighting design, video design and scenography for the dance performance «Wide/Clear» by Karen Foss Quiet Works at Scenehuset in Oslo

The design explored the use of darkness and very strong contrasts, as well as translucent materials, to somewhat obfuscate things for the audience.

For most of the performance, the only light in the space came from three video projectors, projecting images onto pieces of translucent plastic film placed around on stage. This created zones of light and darkness that the dancers experimented with; in addition there were also contrasting quailities of light, with extremely hard raw projector light combined with the soft and diffuse light that resulted from the rear projections.

The projected video was based on photography by Stein Jarle Nilsen, slightly mangled by analog video glitch techniques. Music by Leon Muraglia.

Performance still photos by Stein Jarle Nilsen



Since 2016, I have worked with multidisciplinary musician BAYA on a variety of artistic and technical endeavours, ranging from integration of lighting in scenography and control systems engineering to live video synthesis.

The initial job was design and installation of lighting in the characteristic masks that are part of BAYA's scenography, as well as creating a control system that would let synthesizers, drums and DAWs control the light. This collaboration developed to include video synthesis for concerts and lighting for a music video.

The work with BAYA is still ongoing, and we are collaborating on further merging sound, space and light – still building on the DIY ethos, but further refining the aesthetics.

BAYA performing at Parkteatret, Oslo. Video synthesis by Gard Gitlestad, lighting console operation by Kyrre H. Karlsen.
BAYA performing inside the Langjökull glacier, Iceland. Video synthesis by Gard Gitlestad.