BLACK LIGHT THEATER
~ Using props you've created, no puppets required! ~
Written by: Luanne Payne, Hampton U.C., Hampton, ON, Canada and Janice Loeb, St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, Lindsay, ON, Canada
Black Light (blacklight) theater is a form of puppetry where fluorescent puppets/props are operated on a darkened stage lit only with ultraviolet lighting. The result? A visually glowing, magical show! This document describes using props to put on a captivating black light production that, I thought we needed to share - we guarantee, you will not be disappointed, if you too, see the LIGHT!
Table of Contents
Click on any highlighted title in Table of Contents for quick link!
Reasons to use Black Light Drama
Creating your Stage Area
- What Are Black Lights
- How Do They Work
- Which Lights to Buy
- How Many Lights Do I Need For My Space?
- Diagram of Luanne's Stage Set-Up
How To Build a Horizontal Stand for Fluorescent Light Fixture
Example of props created for two songs:
- Lyrics for “Footprint on the Water”
- Scenery Theme for "Footprints on the Water”
- Props Created for "Footprint on the Water"
- Picture of "Footprint on the Water” Props
- Props Created for "The News"
- Picture of Props used for “The News”
Bulletin Board Idea
- Black Light Puppet Resources
- Making your own Black Light Puppets & Stage (Links)
- Other Creative Ways to Use Your Black Lights
- YouTube Black Light Performances
Our stories, why we did it?
I wanted to try Black Light Theatre after watching it for several years in a public school setting. I was friends with the 'producer' and the first year I attempted it she lent me the hoods and gave me tips for the props. Luanne gave me the suggestion of the "Walking on Water" song and it didn't take too much searching to find two more songs to fit with the Miracles theme. It was very exciting for the children who had never seen or performed in Black Light, so much so that they often ask when they can do it again. We had an absolutely packed room and many disappointed congregational members who missed it, so next time I would definitely schedule more than one performance!
Several years ago I watched another church youth group perform "Noah" using Black Lights. Two mouse puppets told their story, with musical numbers by Noah's family, and of course lots of animals, even a pair of gigantic giraffes and elephants. It was watching the reaction of each child and adult that sold me, they were mesmerized. But, that group had disbanded and I had no luck finding helpful information on the internet to do a low budget performance with professional-looking results. Then, Janice was an answer to prayer, when she said she was going to do black lights. When we did our Miracles Rotation this year she gladly loaned me all her props, black light bulbs, blackout fabric, and hoods. She shared everything she learned from her experience.
Written by Luanne Payne and Janice Loeb
Permission granted to use this article for local teaching use or non-commercial use.