Junior Kim Clyne takes on professional responsibility as lighting designer


Poloma Gonzales

Juniors Kim Clyne and Sophie Spaulding check the light board, setting up for a dress rehearsal.

After spending 14 hours at school in just one day, junior Kim Clyne understanding the meaning of time management as the Theater Department’s lighting designer.

I create and design how the stage will be lit during shows, performances, concerts and meetings,” Clyne said. “I design for almost anything that happens in the theater.”

While Clyne works this position all year long for free, during the summer she is paid to design lights for the groups that rent out the theater at West High.

I decided this was the best part of the theater department for me last year when I was in the booth with my crew Eric Hintz, Alex Volz and Ben Wester. I kind of took a step back and just looked around. All four of us were smiling, and we were joking around and laughing at nothing while we worked,” Clyne said.

Even though working behind the scenes has its lighthearted moments, the job is very stressful for Clyne. She works to create designs and patterns for the show only weeks before showtime.

“I start designing and hanging and focusing my lights two weeks before the show. I go in and look at the set, where I have circuits, what lights I have and what is needed out of the lights. I then spend the rest of that week actually hanging lights and creating the look for the show,” Clyne said.

Tech Week is the week leading up to the show, and rehearsals run then from 2:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. for actors.

“I usually have a lot to do though so I don’t get home until 9 p.m. or 10 p.m.,” Clyne said. “Tech Week is when I take what I created the week before and put it into the system and program it. That’s also when I use the LEDs to create the effects and specials needed. My job is a lot of work in a pretty small amount of time.”

Clyne says she uses the high stress and long hours as motivation.

If the lighting is great, the audience will feel things without even realizing how in the moment they really are. Great lighting should be unnoticeable, but do the unimaginable.”

— Kim Clyne

“I don’t have very long to get everything done usually so I love seeing how all my stress and hard work turned out, especially seeing the audience reacting to any special effects I create like lightning, fireworks or Northern Lights,” Clyne said.

Clyne has been working on tech since middle school, but got into lighting specifically her freshman year. Alumna Emily Young taught her everything she knows about lighting, with help from theater teacher Amie Gossett.

“It still is confusing sometimes and I still have to get some help from Gossett, but she loves helping me with lighting and figuring out new ways to create my vision,” Clyne said.

Gossett is proud of Clyne’s success and says it would not have worked if she was not such a quick learner.

“She has a relatively high amount of knowledge for a high school lighting designer. She took Technical Theatre class and learned the basics for lighting design, but has learned also from hands-on experience,” Gossett said.

Young is also very amazed by the skill level presented by Clyne.

“I was impressed with how many complicated design elements she tried to include even on that first show. Working with her the rest of the year, I was very impressed with her confidence as a designer and crew leader, being blown away by how quick she was picking it up, and very disappointed that I didn’t get to work with her as she grew into her role,” Young said.

Despite the stress, Clyne says the end result is always worth it.

“The thing about lighting is it creates feelings. If the lighting is bad, the audience will notice. If the lighting is good, it won’t change anything,” Clyne said. “But if the lighting is great, the audience will feel things without even realizing how in the moment they really are. Great lighting should be unnoticeable, but do the unimaginable.”