After Jessica Hung Han Yun’s first skilled gig as a lighting designer, she severely thought of leaving the trade. It was Tosca on the King’s Head theatre in London in 2017. “I bear in mind feeling like I hadn’t accomplished this present justice however I couldn’t work out why. At that time I wasn’t assured in myself so I wasn’t assured in my concepts. I needed to strive issues however was too scared to strive them so I went for a safer choice.”
That taught her an vital lesson: “to be courageous in the best way you design and the best way you strategy work.” In case you fail, she provides, there’s at all times one other manner of approaching lighting. “Individuals at all times consider failure as damaging. It’s not, it’s additionally optimistic since you study from it.” Since that second, Hung Han Yun has gone out of her solution to take dangers. At 27, she has already gained large popularity of the creativeness and great thing about her designs.
She found her love of lighting by accident at college in Essex. “I made a decision to take GSCE drama as a result of I believed it could be simple to move and I wasn’t any good at different topics. Then I did it and I believed: ‘Oh god I’ve obtained unhealthy stage fright and I can’t act!’”
It was when a faculty technician, Pete, steered she strive her hand at sound or lighting that she felt an instantaneous click on: “I believed ‘Whoa, that is a lot enjoyable.’ I felt like I used to be portray with gentle. Till then, I had considered lighting as useful. I didn’t assume it might inform a narrative or evoke a lot emotion. Pete actually taught me find out how to respect it.”
She went on to Rose Bruford School and graduated with a level in lighting design in 2014, adopted by a few years of working in retail after which travelling earlier than following her ardour in earnest. Hung Han Yun, who’s of Chinese language Mauritian heritage, grew up in Essex the place her father labored two jobs, seven days every week, whereas her mom raised 4 youngsters. She was not taken to the theatre as a toddler and had no shortcuts into the trade.
“I used to be making use of for arts jobs every single day. It was onerous to get into the trade as a result of I wasn’t positive who to contact or find out how to let folks know I used to be on the market. Then I did a present known as 9 Foot 9 on the Bunker theatre and it snowballed. It went to Edinburgh and spherical the identical time I did an immersive circus piece on the Vaults.”
Excelling rapidly, she labored on a number 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 resembling James Turrell and Olafur Eliasson however her start line is at all times her personal emotional response to the script.
The pandemic quickly halted Hung Han Yun’s work – and in addition introduced anxieties on find out how to survive. She struggled to pay the hire, went on common credit score and commenced calculating how lengthy her financial savings would final till she was pressured to take a brief job in one other area. Then, she was requested to work on Blindness, on the Donmar Warehouse, arguably probably the most completed manufacturing of the pandemic, which was as a lot a light-weight and sound set up as a play. “I used to be so grateful to be working and I put stress on myself as a result of I needed to do it for everybody within the trade, to indicate we might come again and are available again stronger.”
Extra not too long ago, she designed the lighting for the Orange Tree’s present Inside, live-streamed from the venue beneath socially distanced situations. 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 actually excited concerning the inventive group and the narrative of the story. If I learn one thing and assume ‘I don’t understand how you’ll stage this’, it’s like a thriller and I wish to discover out extra, to discover it and see what I can do.”
From the CV
2021: Inside, Orange Tree theatre, London
2021: The Band Performs On, Sheffield Crucible
2020: Dick Whittington, Nationwide Theatre, London
2020: Blindness, Donmar Warehouse, London
2019: Fairview, Young Vic, London
2019: Equus, Theatre Royal Stratford East, London
2019: Seven Strategies of Killing Kylie Jenner, Royal Courtroom, London
2019: Pricey Elizabeth, Gate theatre, London
2019: Pah-La, Royal Courtroom, London
2018: Hive Metropolis Legacy, Roundhouse, London