Ella Fornof

At an early age I started performing in dance, band and acting. Then freshman year I began studying all forms of backstage and theater tech. I became the Stage Crew leader and teacher as well as our Masque Club’s Technical Director in junior year. That same year I volunteered at the Spokane Civic Theater as a Light Board Operator which turned into a paying job and qualified for Thespys Nationals with my lighting design for a realized play. I am now pursuing a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Lighting Design at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). When looking at a stage, the first thing you notice is the lights. It feels like a glowing beacon in the darkness, drawing your eyes closer. Despite this, most people don’t really think about them. They’re a subtle mix of technology that easily gets overlooked and I’ve been told by audience members that the lights seem to happen by magic. To some, that could make it feel as if the countless hours put into designing, hanging, and programming aren’t being recognized. I believe getting told that is the best recognition though. It means the audience isn’t thinking about what I am doing, instead they are fully immersed in the story on stage imagining themselves in a matching time period and feeling the same emotions as the characters. That is the magic of theater and the beauty of lights. That genuine sensation of energy coming spreading to the audience is what inspires me to design. I can’t wait to learn more and share it with the world.