Ceri James from Llanarthney near Carmarthen has worked quietly behind the scenes to devise and manage lights for productions for 30 years.
As the Torch Theatre’s autumn production of Private Lives makes its way to the Torch stage this October, its freelance lighting designer, who works predominantly in Wales, will be celebrating his 30th year in the industry. Ceri is relishing the challenge of working on Private Lives.
His extensive career has taken him around the globe but he’s never far from Pembrokeshire.
After graduating from RWCMD Cardiff in 1990, Ceri moved to California to study and work for the University of Southern California. He has designed over 20 productions for the Sherman Theatre Company and has designed lighting for Theatre Centre, Dalier Sylw, Theatr Clwyd, Theatr na n’Og, Salisbury Playhouse, Unicorn Theatre, Haymarket Theatre Leicester, The Royal Derngate Northampton, New Theatre Stoke, Theatr Bara Caws and Wales Theatre Company.
Ceri is a founder member of Mappa Mundi Theatre for whom he has designed over 30 productions: “I worked extensively in Cardiff as a Lighting Designer, Production Manager and Producer from 1992 - 2012 including Cardiff Millennium Celebrations, and Cardiff’s first Big Weekend. During this period, I was a Founding Member of Mappa Mundi Theatre producing over 20 productions.”
Even though he has journeyed extensively with his work, he has also worked regularly for the Torch Theatre here in Pembrokeshire for the past 10 years since moving to Llanarthney. He has even worked with Chelsey Gillard, Torch Theatre’s Artistic Director before.
“I first worked with Chelsey Gillard in 2018 as a Lighting Designer for ‘Blue’ at Chapter Arts Centre and now five years later we are back working together on a terrific comedy drama and it’s just great,” added Ceri who designs using the latest 3d visualisations, making work digitally and sharing ideas remotely.
And Chelsey is just as delighted to be working with Ceri once more: “Ceri’s work is so detailed, always adding to the storytelling of the production and ensuring the focus is where we need it to be onstage. I’m looking forward to working with Ceri again, I admire his work so much and we already have a shared taste. Private Lives is going to be a brilliant spectacle and we can’t wait for you to see it.”
This October, Ceri will have designed four productions around Wales, Private Lives and the tour of Torch Theatre original production Carwyn produced by Bale & Thomas. And this Christmas he will be Lighting Designer for Sherman Theatre’s Christmas shows - Hansel & Gretel and Peter Pan.