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Mike Hume’s Historic Theatre Photography

Mike Hume’s Historic Theatre Photography

Mike comes from a unique background combining years of technical theatre experience with architectural photography, all spanning time spent in multiple countries. Here is the story behind Historic Theatre Photography.

Mike photographing the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, in London
Mike photographing the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, in London

Mike’s interest in technical theatre sprang from his father’s role as Stage Manager with the critically-acclaimed Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Edinburgh Link opens in new window, staging annual shows at Edinburgh’s historic Edwardian-era King’s Theatre.

Yearly trips to see the King’s Pantomime, featuring Scottish legends such as Stanley Baxter, Una McLean, Russell Hunter, Allan Stewart, Jimmy Logan, Rikki Fulton, Walter Carr, and Johnny Beattie, always included a backstage visit after the show to meet the cast and to see the set, scenery painting, props, lighting, and special effects from the other side of the curtain. All this firmly fixed Mike on a path to pursue his interest in theatre lighting design, set construction, and production management.

Through his relationship with the staff at the King’s Theatre Mike met renowned UK Lighting Designer Francis Reid, and sat-in on plotting sessions led by Mr Reid for future pantomimes, further assuring Mike’s interest in a career in technical theatre.

Mike won a place on Scottish Youth Theatre’s Link opens in new window Summer School of 1991, and over the following years as a Scottish Youth Theatre (SYT) alumnus lit several productions for both SYT and XSYT Productions, the latter being an offshoot of SYT producing shows with SYT alumni. This included lighting productions for actors such as Brian Cox Link opens in new window, Blythe Duff Link opens in new window, and Colin McCredie Link opens in new window, in addition to XSYT being invited to bring a show to Stratford-upon-Avon with Mike designing lighting for the critically acclaimed Royal Shakespeare Company Link opens in new window.

Additionally in the 1990s, Mike worked multiple summer seasons with the National Youth Music Theatre Link opens in new window (NYMT) both at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Link opens in new window and in the prestigious Edinburgh Festival Theatre, featuring the largest stage in the UK at the time, for NYMT’s flagship production “Pendragon”, filmed by the BBC.

As a direct result of his involvement with XSYT and lighting shows in Stratford-upon-Avon, in the late 1990s Mike was nominated to light a pre West End production of “Jesus, My Boy” starring renowned UK actor Tom Conti Link opens in new window. Mike’s lighting and stage projection design was carried-over to the limited run in London’s West End.

In the 2000s Mike continued to light productions for leading theatre companies in Edinburgh, and for many years was Production Manager for the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Edinburgh Link opens in new window in addition to co-designing their sets.

Since 2010 Mike has been based in Los Angeles as a C-level IT professional with over 25 years experience working in Australia, North America, the UK, and Europe. In addition to advising IT startups on the US West Coast, Mike heads-up the Technology division of a respected legal services company based in Los Angeles.

Mike earned his Honours degree in Computer Science from Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University Link opens in new window, and is recognized as a Chartered IT Professional by the UK Engineering Council Link opens in new window and has the distinction of being a Fellow of the British Computer Society Link opens in new window.

Mike photographing the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre in San Antonio, Texas
Mike photographing the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre in San Antonio, Texas

Mike has served as a photographer and docent (tour guide) with the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation (LAHTF) Link opens in new window since 2016, and in January 2018 became a Board Director of the LAHTF, playing an integral part in preserving and protecting Los Angeles County’s historic theatres for future generations.

Mike is a regular event photographer for, and member of, the Los Angeles Conservancy Link opens in new window – the largest membership-based historic preservation organization in the United States. His photography for the Conservancy has been published at both local and national levels, including feature photos in the playbill for the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles’ Link opens in new window production of “Henry IV” in June/July 2018 starring Tom Hanks Link opens in new window and Hamish Linklater Link opens in new window.

In addition to his background in technical theatre and stage design, Mike is passionate about historic theatres and architectural photography. You can view some of Mike’s favorite non-theatre photography over on Flickr Link opens in new window or at photos.mikehume.com Link opens in new window.

Mike has conducted extensive research into the Atmospheric theatre style Link opens in new window, an interior design style which was popularized in 1920s theatres, particularly in the United States. Simply put, atmospheric theatres were designed to evoke the sense of being transported to a far-off exotic outdoor location. The most popular design styles were Spanish and Italian, however the atmospheric theatre style includes theatres designed to look like Mesoamerican temples, Japanese Tea Gardens, Medieval Castles, and even a Dutch Village complete with rotating windmills!

Mike partnered with the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation Link opens in new window to create a 1-hour presentation on atmospheric theatres across the United States and the rest of the World. The presentation has been replayed numerous times including for Center Theatre Group Link opens in new window staff in Los Angeles, and as a special co-presentation with the UK-based Cinema Theatre Association Link opens in new window. You can read more about Mike’s research into the atmospheric theatre style here.

Mike is a keen motorcycle rider and owns two sports bikes. You can read more about that here Link opens in new window.

Mike has combined is passions of theatre, photography, history, and preservation into the website Historic Theatre Photography. In addition to this website, Historic Theatre Photos is also on Instagram Link opens in new window, Facebook Link opens in new window, and Twitter Link opens in new window.

You can view a complete archive of all Mike’s theatre and event photography work at theatre.mikehume.com Link opens in new window.

 

Mike’s Equipment List

Mike photographing the Alex Theatre in Glendale
Mike photographing the Alex Theatre in Glendale

Historic Theatre Photography

Photographs copyright © 2002-2021 Mike Hume/historictheatrephotos.com unless otherwise noted.

Text copyright © 2017-2021 Mike Hume/historictheatrephotos.com.

For photograph licensing and/or re-use contact me here.



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