The Earlham theater department often looks to Henry Bateman ’14 for inspiration, and he in turn is inspired by life’s beautiful moments.
Bateman is the director of production and design for Dance Alloy and lighting designer for Earlham theater, and as such he has been able to work side-by-side with professionals in The Acting Company and other groups that have performed at Earlham. In addition, he recently completed a lengthy renovation of the house lights in Wilkinson Theatre.
“This involved retrofitting some of the older equipment with LED lighting,” he explains. “Lights will now last 50,000 hours compared to 2,000 while using 30 percent of the electricity.”
On stage, Bateman uses skills he has acquired since 8th grade when he first began working in theater.
“Light is a really cool medium,” he says. “Nobody really knows how light functions in our world until they study it in depth. Learning how to play with it has been an amazing experience. You can make beautiful moments with lights.”
Bateman uses light angles, placement and color to produce the desired effect.
“I really like making meaningful experiences for people — creative moments where someone can leave the reality they are in and enter this created reality where they can experience empathy, fun, happiness, or whatever the moment calls for,” he says. “One way that you might make it seem more dramatic is to lower the angle from the side in front to produce shadows across the face,” he explains. “For a happy moment set the angle at 45 degrees up in the air to produce a warm amber or pink light.”
Bateman came to Earlham with several interests, including theater, lighting, religion, sustainability and kites.
“Earlham has brought me to the place where I can integrate all of these passions that I have,” he says. “Theater arts provides me with an avenue to bring all these things together in an artistic manner.”
Bateman also spent a semester in the New York Arts program where he expanded his ideas of sustainability in set design, and he interned in the lighting department at Weathervane Playhouse for three summers.
“I am fascinated by religion, ethics, right and wrong, and in theater, right and wrong are huge,” he says.
Ten years from now, Bateman hopes to be a lighting director in New York City, but before that he hopes to study lighting design in graduate school in Chicago.
And when he needs to de-stress from academics, the Iowa native can be found on the soccer fields flying one of his many beautiful kites.
“There’s something about putting a piece of cloth in the air and watching it bob,” he says. “It brings me outdoors and the takeoff and coasting in the air are incredible.”