David Whitworth Collection

The David Whitworth Collection was launched in 2012 to commemorate David Whitworth's contribution to theatre production and the lighting design industry.

The collection comprises print, multimedia and electronic resources held in the QUT Library, on all aspects of theatre production.

QUT Library is pleased to join with the Creative Industries Faculty on this project which acknowledges David, and introduces Theatre Production staff and students to the range of resources available to support them while at QUT, and during their careers as industry professionals.

Browse the full collection

Vale David Whitworth

David, Rosa and Nina

David William Whitworth
1952 - 2001

The year 2000 was to be David Whitworth's thirty-first year of working in theatre and his twenty-first year as a Lighting Designer. David spent eighteen years from 1980 – 1997, as resident Lighting Designer and Technical Director with The Queensland Ballet. During this time he toured extensively throughout Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

From 1985 he was the director of his own production company working on countless corporate productions. David also worked as a freelance Lighting Designer, designing for every theatre, opera and dance company in his home town of Brisbane.

Since 1990 he had been the lecturer in lighting design at the Queensland University of Technology and during that time lit most major productions for the QUT Dance Department.

David was an inspirational teacher, mentor and artist whose influence is still felt by his many students, friends and colleagues to this day.

In this video address, Jason Organ - a former student of David's - talks about David's influence on his own career as a lighting designer. [Please note that there is about 30 seconds of black before the video starts]

Creator: Yanni Dubler

David's career

"The English-born Whitworth began his association with the performing arts in Australia when he was hired as a stagehand on the Australian premiere production of Hair in 1975. He worked on other productions for Harry M. Miller and J.C. Williamson before returning to England, where he was involved in the world premiere production of Evita in London's West End. In 1980, Whitworth was appointed technical director and lighting designer for The Queensland Ballet, and in subsequent years designed more than 120 productions for the company. Whitworth's talent saw him also hired to work for The Queensland Theatre Company as well as companies in Sydney and Melbourne, and in 1993 he was technical director for the Brisbane Biennial Festival of Music. Apart from his duties at The Queensland Ballet, Whitworth also passed on his knowledge to students at the Queensland University of Technology dance school at Kelvin Grove." Des Partridge : Excerpt from the Courier Mail. 3 April 2001


reading light / illuminating texts: December 1999

Choreography: John Utans
Lighting: David Whitworth
Lighting design realised by: Jason Organ

This work has two major themes. Firstly to collaborate, from inception with a lighting designer. David Whitworth and I had worked together on numerous occasions in the standard practice of the designer coming to the work towards the end of a rehearsal process and simply lighting what has been created.

"We worked together by David describing what he wanted to explore and I then worked around that. The piece was made up of 10 five-minute scenes, or 'chapters'. We alternated in who started out with the idea for each chapter. John Utans: https://www.johnutans.com/read.html


"David Whitworth not only creates a playground for the performance of bodies in the space, but proudly exposes his lanterns and flaunts their brilliance. They turn from beacons into landing lights, from searchlights on a tower to washes of liquid honey. They cage the dancers, trapping them with cool, clean, clinical precision, then they release them as light spills out and into the auditorium." Shaaron Boughen: The Australian. 3 December, 1999.

"David Whitworth's lighting made shadows take on lives of their own." Jack Anderson: Dance Review. July 12, 1999.

"Bill Haycock's sets and costumes glowed under David Whitworth's atmospheric lighting." Jacqueline Pascoe: The Australian. 27 November, 1997.

"The Seduction of Liberty (QUT Creative Industries, Dance, 2001) and reading light/illuminating texts (1999) show a strongly theatrical leaning with their effusive use of light. Both works are a collaboration [between choreographer John Utans and] lighting designer David Whitworth and, in part, represent a very personal response to the inspiration Utans has had from the work of Merce Cunningham and John Cage. Although these works differ markedly from each other…they share a sensually textural quality that makes for excellent theatre." Blazenka Brysha: https://www.johnutans.com/writings.html