Richard Pilbrow book cover

Richard Pilbrow

Lighting designer, theatre design consultant and author

2016 The National Theatre’s 40th Birthday in the Denys Lasdun building. Lighting MY FAIR LADY at the Sydney Opera House, directed by Dame Julie Andrews

In 2010 Live Design voted Richard “one of the 50 most powerful people in the entertainment technology industry.”

Winner of the 2008 Wally Russell Lifetime Achievement Award — Nominated for Drama Desk 2008 Award for Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical for A TALE OF TWO CITIES.

Richard Pilbrow, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Theatre Projects Consultants, is one of the world's leading theatre design consultants, a theatre, film and television producer, and an internationally known author and stage lighting designer. He founded Theatre Projects in London in 1957.

Under his leadership, Theatre Projects has become the pre-eminent theatre consulting organization in the world. The team of artistic, management, architectural, design and technical specialists combine to offer a unique service to those engaged in the planning and design of theatres, concert halls, and arts centers. Pilbrow was chosen by Laurence Olivier to be lighting director and later theatre consultant to the National Theatre of Great Britain.

In 2005 Richard was honored as Lighting Designer of the Year by Lighting Dimensions magazine. In December 2005 in the premier edition of LiveDesign he was named as one of the ten visionaries among designers and artists, who were “the most influential people in the world of visual design for live events.” Richard is the Winner of the 2008 Wally Russell Lifetime Achievement Award. Richard is a pioneer of modern stage lighting in Britain and his work has been seen in London, New York, Paris, Berlin, Vienna and Moscow. He was the first British lighting designer to design the lighting for a Broadway musical Zorba.

On November 8, 2010 in a ceremony in Hong Kong, Richard was conferred with Honorary Fellowship of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, for his “outstanding achievements and distinguished services to the performing arts.”

In 2011, Richard was honored with the 4th Knights of Illumination Lifetime Recognition Award. In 2012 he was also awarded the Southeastern Theatre Conference 2012 Distinguished Career Award.

On December 10, 2012, Richard was conferred with Honorary Fellowship to the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London.

Richard Pilbrow was born in London England and currently resides in Connecticut.

Winner USITT 2013 Golden Pen Award Second Edition - August 2015
Winner USITT 2013 Golden Pen Award Second Edition - August 2015


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Richard Bilbrow

Richard’s parents were Marjorie and Gordon Pilbrow. Gordon was British Sabre Fencing Champion between 1934 and 1948 — and a member of the British Olympic Team in Berlin and London, His first wife Viki Brinton was a partner in the early days of TP. Their children are Abigail, a potter (grandchildren Esme, Diggory and Louie) and Fred, an architect in London (grandchildren Solomon and Otto). In 1974 he married lighting designer Molly (née Friedel). They have a daughter Daisy, who works as an Agile Coach for Spotify in Stockholm, Sweden.

In 1982, Richard received an award from the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) for "his many years contribution to the art of lighting, as designer, entrepreneur and consultant in both England and America," and a Distinguished Life Time Achievement Award from the USITT in 1999. In 2000 he also received from the Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT) their annual Technician of the Year. He served as Director-at-Large on the USITT Board from 2000-2003 and again from 2003-2006, and was elected a Fellow of the Institute in 2001 for “His truly astounding contribution to the theatre and the work of the Institute”. Mr. Pilbrow has lectured and written articles extensively, giving master classes on Stage Lighting and Theatre Design at the VII Festival Iberoamericano de Teatro de Bogata 2000 in Columbia and in Prague for PQ2007.

Richard was a co-founder of the Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT), the Society of British Theatre Designers (SBTD), the Society of Theatre Consultants (STC), the Association of Lighting Designers (ALD), and the Theatre Projects Trust — LAMDA Stage Management and Technical Theatre Course. He is the Honorary Chairman of Light Relief the UK Registered Charity to support those in need in the entertainment lighting profession

A theatre project


A Backstage Adventure

Triumph, Disaster and Renewal that changed Stage Lighting and the Shape of Theatre

An autobiographical tale by Richard Pilbrow with David Collison.

“Superbly illustrated . . . It’s an absolute joy to read”

Michael Coveney.

“BRILLIANT. The ultimate book on the creative side of theatre.”

Musical Theatre News.

"These stories are page-turners. For those with a love of theatre . . . this book is a gripping tale"

AK Bennett-Hunter. The Stage

"Beautifully produced. Gripping, fascinating story. Very highly recommended."

Rob Halliday, L&S America

"Essential reading for everyone who has had, is in the middle of, or is setting out on a backstage career"

Francis Reid, Entertainment Technology

"Rich, engaging and insightful . . . jam-packed with wonderful stories . . . a visual feast. A THEATRE PROJECT is highly recommended"

Michael Eddy, Stage Directions

"Fascinating story. A complete and most readable record . . . of the most complete non-acting theatre life I know of"

James Laws, ALD's FOCUS, August 2011

"Essential reading . . . beautifully presented. An amazing project, this book - this life."

Raymond Langford Jones, Sardines UK 

Reviews of the e-edition:

“The e-edition of the book brings that same innovative, pioneering spirit and quest-to-improve to publishing, the new features adding life and depth to an already fascinating read."

Rob Halliday

“Insanely great use of iPad tech, and a great read too.

Buy. This. Book!

This innovative use of the iPad technology is unprecedented. It's how any book on this platform ought to be written, with interactive links to URLs, photos and movies that allow the reader to reach the whole world wide web without ever leaving the book.

However, the context does not overwhelm the content — it supports the great stories shared with insightful, witty style. Anyone with even a passing interest in the world of theatre will enjoy this trip through theatre technology, theatre lore, and theatre consulting, as told by a master storyteller."

Jules Lauve

“Terrific story on the iPad . . inspiring and eye opening, worth every second."

Fridthjofur Thornstainsson, ALD FOCUS

Published by PLASA Media June 2011