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Jessica Hung Han Yun: a designer tripping the light fantastic | Stage

After Jessica Hung Han Yun’s first skilled gig as a lighting designer, she severely thought of leaving the trade. It was Tosca at the King’s Head theatre in London in 2017. “I remember feeling like I hadn’t done this show justice but I couldn’t figure out why. At that point I wasn’t confident in myself so I wasn’t confident in my ideas. I wanted to try things but was too scared to try them so I went for a safer option.”

That taught her an vital lesson: “to be brave in the way you design and the way you approach work.” If you fail, she provides, there’s at all times one other method of approaching lighting. “People always think of failure as negative. It’s not, it’s also positive because you learn from it.” Since that second, Hung Han Yun has gone out of her technique to take dangers. At 27, she has already received enormous popularity of the creativeness and fantastic thing about her designs.

Zachary Hing and Gabby Wong in Pah-La at the Royal Court in 2019.
Zachary Hing and Gabby Wong in Pah-La at the Royal Court in 2019. Photograph: Tristram Kenton/the Guardian

She found her love of lighting by chance in school in Essex. “I decided to take GSCE drama because I thought it would be easy to pass and I wasn’t any good at other subjects. Then I did it and I thought: ‘Oh god I’ve got bad stage fright and I can’t act!’”

It was when a college technician, Pete, steered she attempt her hand at sound or lighting that she felt an on the spot click on: “I thought ‘Whoa, this is so much fun.’ I felt like I was painting with light. Until then, I had thought of lighting as functional. I didn’t think it could tell a story or evoke so much emotion. Pete really taught me how to appreciate it.”

She went on to Rose Bruford College and graduated with a diploma in lighting design in 2014, adopted by a couple of years of working in retail after which travelling earlier than following her ardour in earnest. Hung Han Yun, who’s of Chinese Mauritian heritage, grew up in Essex the place her father labored two jobs, seven days a week, whereas her mom raised 4 youngsters. She was not taken to the theatre as a youngster and had no shortcuts into the trade.

Blindness at the Donmar Warehouse.
Blindness at the Donmar Warehouse. Photograph: Helen Maybanks

“I was applying for arts jobs every day. It was hard to get into the industry because I wasn’t sure who to contact or how to let people know I was out there. Then I did a show called Nine Foot Nine at the Bunker theatre and it snowballed. It went to Edinburgh and round the same time I did an immersive circus piece at the Vaults.”

Excelling shortly, she labored on a few of the most daring and politically charged exhibits of latest years together with Fairview, Pah-La and Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner. She attracts inspiration from movies and from set up artists akin to James Turrell and Olafur Eliasson however her start line is at all times her personal emotional response to the script.

Amy Booth-Steel in Dick Whittington at the National Theatre.
Amy Booth-Steel in Dick Whittington at the National Theatre. Photograph: Tristram Kenton/The Guardian

The pandemic quickly halted Hung Han Yun’s work – and in addition introduced anxieties on the right way to survive. She struggled to pay the lease, went on common credit score and commenced calculating how lengthy her financial savings would final till she was compelled to take a short-term job in one other area. Then, she was requested to work on Blindness, at the Donmar Warehouse, arguably the most completed manufacturing of the pandemic, which was as a lot a light and sound set up as a play. “I was so grateful to be working and I put pressure on myself because I wanted to do it for everyone in the industry, to show we could come back and come back stronger.”

More lately, she designed the lighting for the Orange Tree’s present Inside, live-streamed from the venue underneath socially distanced circumstances. It’s wonderful to be again, she says, and has reminded her how a lot she loves the collaboration and camaraderie of all of it.

Later this 12 months, she’s going to work on Anna X, a play by Joseph Charlton starring Emma Corrin, to be staged as a part of the Re:Emerge season in the West End. “I’m really excited about the creative team and the narrative of the story. If I read something and think ‘I don’t know how you would stage this’, it’s like a mystery and I want to find out more, to explore it and see what I can do.”

From the CV

Ira Mandela Siobhan and Ethan Kai in Equus, Theatre Royal Stratford East, 2019.
Ira Mandela Siobhan and Ethan Kai in Equus, Theatre Royal Stratford East, 2019. Photograph: Richard Davenport/The Other Richard

2021: Inside, Orange Tree theatre, London

2021: The Band Plays On, Sheffield Crucible

2020: Dick Whittington, National Theatre, London

2020: Blindness, Donmar Warehouse, London

2019: Fairview, Young Vic, London

2019: Equus, Theatre Royal Stratford East, London

2019: Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner, Royal Court, London

2019: Dear Elizabeth, Gate theatre, London

2019: Pah-La, Royal Court, London

2018: Hive City Legacy, Roundhouse, London

Source: httpspercent3Apercent2Fpercent2Fwww.theguardian.compercent2Fstagepercent2F2021percent2Fmarpercent2F31percent2Fjessica-hung-han-yun-a-designer-tripping-the-light-fantastic

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