Since graduating then, she has worked as a lighting designer for theatre, dance, and installations around the UK and internationally, including for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Orange Tree, the Royal Court, and the National Theatre. For her work on ‘EQUUS’ for Trafalgar Studios she won the Knight of Illumination Award for Plays, and the Off West End Award.

“A Lighting designer aids in telling a narrative to the audience  with light. Light has many qualities that can be utilised to influence the atmosphere and tone of a space. Combined with set, sound, movement, and texture you transform spaces both emotionally and physically.”

We asked Jessica to tell us a little more about her impressive career in Lighting Design.

In your career so far, is there a project that really stands out from the rest as a favourite?

‘EQUUS’ is one of my favourite projects as it really taught me how to collaborate with other departments. I was still quite new to the whole industry, and this was the show that I learnt the most on. I came out of it with a better understanding of how each creative department can and should influence one another – we are all inter-linked and aiming for the same outcome. My communication skills improved massively. And I gained a deeper understanding of how lighting design can work emotionally within a space. It made me look at lighting design in a whole new light! And it’s where I started to become more brave and ready to take risks in my designs.


What did you enjoy most about studying at Bruford? 

I enjoyed the way that the tutors taught me to approach lighting design and learning to take inspiration from many different creative sources. It was an environment where I was able to make mistakes, ask questions, and learn in depth how to approach a design.


What have you taken away that you apply in your day-to-day work?

I always remember learning about the golden ratio in paintings and use this theory day to day. When I think about the composition of a scene, I am inclusive of everything that the audience would see and how that effectively tells a story, and this will feed back into my design. Attention to detail, and purpose matters. A tutor also once asked me ‘what is the purpose of each of your lighting fixtures?’ This question is stuck in my head to this day and I ask it every time I am drawing a rigg plan.

What would you tell someone studying this degree now?

Really use the faculties and the time you have at Bruford. Make sure to make the most of it all – enjoy and explore lighting design as much as you can!

You can find out more about Jessica’s work by visiting her website

Her work on the Barbican’s production of ‘My Neighbour Totoro’, the beloved Studio Ghibli classic, can be seen at the Barbican from October 2022.