The first entertainment lighting company to reach the 100-year mark, Strand Lighting has been celebrating its centennial in a big way. Now part of Philips Entertainment, Strand Electric was founded in 1914 in London, England, to provide lighting to the theatre community. In 1968, the Rank Organization purchased Strand Electric, and then in 1969 purchased the US-based Century Lighting, which had opened in 1926 to serve Broadway. The newly combined company became Strand Century. In 2008, the company became part of Philips, where its sister companies include Vari-Lite and Selecon.
As part of its 100th birthday celebration, the Strand Centennial Video Project includes interviews that have been conducted not only with current and former Strand employees, but also leading lighting designers who have had long-standing relationships with Strand and its gear.
“The Century catalogue was my bible, and I looked to it to find out what lights did and what hardware there was,” says lighting designer Jennifer Tipton, whose career began in the 1960s. “And the Light Palette is the computer board I grew up on, so as far as I am concerned, all standards are measured by the Strand Palette.”
Designer/theatre consultant Richard Pilbrow tells some wonderful stories about his early days in the London lighting business and his relationship to Strand Lighting as early as the 1940s and ‘50s, starting when he was 13 years old and “caught the theatre bug.”