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Additional Industry Experts Join KOI Judging Panels

New KOI judges clockwise from top left: Neil Fisher, Louise Levene, Tim Bano, Fleur Whitlock, James Jackson, Lucy Mangan, Suzi Feay, and Ronnie Gurr. Photo: The Fifth Estate

The highly esteemed Knight of Illumination UK (KOI) Awards, which celebrates the creative and technical talents of video and lighting designers, welcomes a number of new judges to each of the panels across the three disciplines of Theatre, Television, and Concert Touring & Events for the 2019 Awards.

The Awards boast three stellar panels comprised of arts critics and industry experts, with specialist knowledge of their sector, to ensure well-rounded coverage and expert insight during the judging process.

In the Theatre category, each judge serves a two-year term on the panel, which is chaired by critic and broadcaster, David Benedict.

"Given the breadth and depth -- and length -- of the annual judging session for the Theatre KOI Awards it is essential that our judges, all critics viewing work live in performance, are as passionate as they are articulate about their specific art form," says Benedict.

"It's a particular pleasure to welcome back Louise Levene, now dance critic for the Financial Times, to re-join the panel. Louise was a founding judge in 2007 and has since been a tireless advocate for the role of lighting in dance. By contrast, it's great to be harnessing the fresh perspectives of Tim Bano, joint lead critic for The Stage, to judge musicals and plays, and Neil Fisher, classical music editor of The Times, for the opera award. I look forward to all three joining the returning judges Zoƫ Anderson, Michael Billington, and George Hall for a typically fiercely fought round of discussions."

Levene says, "Even the most bread-and-butter lighting will focus the attention and dramatize the space, but virtuoso lighting is a joy in itself and raises quite ordinary movement to the level of the choreography: directing the eye; changing the mood; spinning straw into gold."

Concert Touring & Events chair Jess Allan has enlisted music business veteran, Ronnie Gurr to help the panel whittle down the submissions to a final shortlist. In his 40 years in the business, Gurr has written for NME and Record Mirror, as well as press for Virgin Records and Sony Music. He now runs Hanging Around Books, an independent publisher specializing in music-related photobooks.

"I'm delighted to have been invited into the distinguished company of the KOI Awards' CT&E judging panel," says Gurr. "It will be a pleasure to join esteemed colleagues in witnessing and honoring the fine work that lighting and video designers create in enhancing and enriching the live experience."

New judges to the Television judging panel, chaired by television lighting designer Stuart Gain include television editor for The Times, James Jackson; television critic for The Guardian, Lucy Mangan; television critic for FT Weekend, Suzi Feay; and art director and production designer, Fleur Whitlock.

"If today's prestige dramas use lighting to reflect mood and give a classy sensibility, so too must factual and reality shows in their own ways," explains Jackson. "And as we hit 'peak-TV,' viewers are not just watching on plasma screens at home, but on tablets and phones while on the go. Suffice to say, good lighting is more important than ever."

Submissions for the Television and Concert Touring & Events category can be made through the Knight of Illumination website, while theatre productions are exclusively nominated and shortlisted by the KOI Theatre judges.

The KOI judges watch numerous productions throughout the year and, once submissions have closed on the 30th June, meet to select the final three shortlisted designers and one winner for each award. The winners of the 12th annual KOI Awards will be revealed at the 2019 ceremony and gala dinner at London's Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith on September 15.

Submissions can still be made through the KOI website until June 30, 2019 at the URL below.


(20 May 2019)

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