The Hemsley Lighting Programs 15th Annual Lighting Portfolio Review

The Hemsley Lighting Programs 15th annual Lighting Portfolio Review will be held March 30&31, 2019 in New York City at Ballet Hispanico Studios - 167 West 89th Street (between Columbus and Amsterdam). This unique opportunity will allow graduate lighting students to enter into an extended dialogue with leading theater professionals for critique of their portfolios. The day-long format allows time for informal question-and-answer sessions about professional life as well as networking opportunities with peers, Broadway production electricians, working designers, and artistic directors.

The transition of a student to the professional world is one of the most anticipated and intimidating moments of a young designer’s life. Despite the years of training and hard work, the leap into the unknown can be nerve-racking. The Hemsley Lighting Portfolio Review is designed to give the student a chance to meet first- hand with professional designers so that they can improve their portfolios and get answers and advice from those already working in the industry.

With over 30 years of experience in offering training opportunities to young designers, the Hemsley Lighting Programs honor the life and spirit of Gilbert V. Hemsley Jr., who was dedicated to helping students in lighting and life. The Hemsley Lighting Portfolio Review continues this mission of creating opportunities to assist students in their transition to the professional world.

The Portfolio Review Overview

Each of you should prepare two different ways of presenting your work-interview/portfolio style and an exhibit/display style. During the day on Sunday, you will participate in 4 individual review sessions.  These sessions will be at tables that are not part of your exhibit area. Each of these sessions will last approximately 30-40 minutes and will alternate with a free session in between.  During your free sessions in the morning you will join an informal Roundtable with a professional designer to talk about a variety of subjects as you get started on your careers.  These will not require you to show your work, but will provide an opportunity to discuss with the designer topics about careers as Lighting Designers. During your free sessions in the afternoon there will be a Vectorworks Clinic for you to hear about the latest software release and get some valuable tips and tricks.

How to Apply

Participants are nominated by their academic advisors.  Letters of nomination can be sent via email to and must be received before February 15.  Students must be in the final year of their degree program.  MFA nominations are given priority unless the student attends a university or college that doesn’t have a graduate program.  Additional undergraduate nominations will be considered as space allows.

The Hemsley Lighting Portfolio Review Schedule  (subject to change)


Saturday, March 30


9-9:30am            Check-in and Coffee at David Koch Theatre, Lincoln Center, 62nd and Columbus Ave.                

9:30am                Bus to 4Wall Entertainment Lighting

10am-1pm            Associates and Assistants Seminar -   hosted by Broadway Associate Designer, Craig Stelzenmuller         

• Lunch provided by 4Wall

1:30pm-4:30pm   Product Shoot Outs

4:30pm                Bus to ETC New York

5pm-6:30pm       Designer Talkback with Bob Barnhart - Reception hosted by ETC

Evening Free


Sunday, March 31

Ballet Hispanico Studios - 167 W. 89th Street, between Columbus and Amsterdam

8am-9:30am         Individual Display Set up time - (coffee and continental breakfast provided)

9:30am-10am       Welcome and Introduction

10:00am-1pm       Review Sessions/Mini-Seminars

Each student will be scheduled 4 different 40-minute review sessions over the course of the day (2 in the morning, 2 in the afternoon). 

Each participant’s order will vary, but will include:

·      A one-on-one session with a professional lighting designer

·      A panel of 2-3 professional lighting designers

·      A panel of scenic and costume designers and directors

·      A one-on-one with a Production Electrician

Each will review your portfolio and discuss your preparation for the upcoming transition to professional life.  These sessions will not be back to back.  In the morning session you will rotate through review times and Roundtable discussions,

The morning review schedule will be one of these two possibilities:

Session #1 10-10:40

Designer Roundtable 10:45-11:25

Session #2 11:30-12:10

Designer Roundtable 12:15-12:55


Designer Roundtable 10-10:40

Session 1 10:45-11:25

Designer Roundtable 11:30-12:10

Session 2 12:15-12:55


1:00pm-2:00pm      Lunch -  Served on site.

2pm-5pm                Continued Review Sessions/Vectorwork Clinics

The afternoon session will rotate between reviews and Vectorworks Clinics:

Session #3 2:00-2:40

Vectorworks Clinic 2:45-3:25

Session #4 3:30-4:10

Vectorworks Clinic 4:15-4:55


Vectorworks Clinic 2:00-2:40

Session 3 2:45-3:25

Vectorworks Clinic 3:30-4:10

Session 4 4:15-4:55


5:00pm-8pm          Reception and Design Exhibit (light sandwiches provided)

                              This is open to the public.  Please invite friends and colleagues.

Lighting Portfolio Review Guidelines

Travel, lodging, food (except for lunch March 30th and lunch and reception on March 31st) are the responsibility of the participants.
All Faculty are invited to observe and participate. Second year Grads can also come as observers.

Your portfolio may be in whatever format you choose (digital or printed), but must include at least one full scale printed light plot, with section, paperwork, and magic sheet.  Photos may be digital or printed, but an Internet connection is not available during the individual reviews or Design Exhibit.

Please Note: The individual portfolio reviews do not take place in the
Design Exhibit area.  These are separate interviews and take place around tables in other rooms.  Your portfolio should be portable, and independent from your display materials, however, you may choose to include your portfolio in your area at the exhibit/reception from 5-8pm.

Design Exhibit Display Area: You will each get a 6’ table and 1-30x40 black panel and 2-20x30 black foam core panels to arrange however you like.  Some easels will be provided if you wish to use them in the arrangement of the panels. Electricity will be provided if requested in advance. You must provide your own table covering.

You cannot use tape or other sticky adhesive to attach your materials to the foam core boards.  Push-pins and T-pins are provided. Boards will stand on easels or be taped together on the back to facilitate standing on tables.  

Please direct questions and applications to:

Mark Stanley
Resident Lighting Designer
New York City Ballet

20 Lincoln Center
NYC, NY 10023

I was brought in at the last moment to redo Lohengrin at the Metropolitan Opera and Rudy Kuntner, the lighting designer, got sick. I had just read it on the airplane. As soon as we landed I went out and I bought about 50 pounds of eight inch diameter chocolate chip cookies. Anybody who came to that desk and wanted to help me light, I’d give them an eight inch chocolate chip cookie. It would take them so long to eat it that I could get lighting done while everybody was busy eating chocolate chip cookies.
— Gilbert Hemsley