Photograph from Oz - lighting design by Chris Swain
Photographer: Mark Dawson | From the show Oz
Photograph from Kin - lighting design by Chris Swain
Kin | Photographer: Malachy Luckie | From the show Kin
Photograph from Oz - lighting design by Chris Swain
Photographer: Mark Dawson | From the show Oz
Photograph from Kin - lighting design by Chris Swain
Vanessa Guevara Flores in Kin | Photographer: Malachy Luckie | From the show Kin
Photograph from The Colour of Dinosaurs - lighting design by Chris Swain
The Colour of Dinosaurs - A gig theatre show | Photographer: Paul Blakemore | From the show The Colour of Dinosaurs
Chris Swain's picture

Chris Swain

Biography Credits Portfolio Press Quotes Specialisms Availability Contact Details News


I am a lighting designer based in Bristol.

I love working in collaborative rooms, especially on devised theatre, physical theatre and dance. I have been working in all scales of venue for all sorts of productions - Theatre, Dance, Circus and Opera - for 15 years.

The company I have the longest relationship with is Gecko - my lighting design for the company includes 'Kin', 'a little space', ‘The Dreamer’, ‘Time of Your life’, ‘Institute’, & 'Missing'.

Other lighting designs include: 'Oliver Twist', 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf', 'Our Country's Good', 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', 'Beautiful Thing', and ‘Blue Heart’ for Tobacco Factory Theatres, 'Colour of Dinosaurs' and ‘We Can Time Travel’ for gig-theatre maker Dom Coyote, 'Oz', ‘Flies’, and ‘The Scarlet Pimpernel’ for Pins and Needles, 'Snowed in' for Anatomical, 'Cutting Out' for artist and activist Viv Gordon, and designs for various contemporary dance companies including: New Movement Collective, Fertile Ground, Renaud Wiser Dance, Sophie Nuzel Dance, and TrashDollys.

I have toured widely as a production manager and re-lighter both nationally and internationally - working in China, the USA, Mexico, Colombia, Russia and extensively throughout Europe and the UK. 

I am also a visiting lecturer at Bristol Old Vic Theatre school, where I work with the students on their own lighting designs, supervise technical workshops and fit-ups, and provide lighting design for the school's own productions. I have a strong interest in teaching, and love working with students and young people in technical roles.

For a fuller credit list and list of qualifications please visit

Previous productions

Previous productions

Show name Type Venue/Company Role Creative Team Opened
The Colour of Dinosaurs Theatre Bristol Old Vic
Otic and Lloyd Coleman
Lighting Designer Director: Dom Coyote
Set designer: Amy Pitt
Oct 2023
Snowed In Theatre Robin Howard Dance Theatre, The Place, then touring
Lighting Designer Director: Tom Roden and Anna Williams
Set designer: Will Holt
Dec 2022
Kin Theatre Home, Manchester - followed by UK touring. Lyttleton Theatre, London in Jan '24, then touring
Gecko Theatre
Lighting Designer Director: Amit Lahav
Set designer: Rhys Jarman
Sep 2022
Oz Theatre Tobacco Factory Theatres
Tobacco Factory Theatre & Pins and Needles
Lighting Designer Director: Emma Earle
Set designer: Zoe Squire
Dec 2021
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Theatre The Tobacco Factory Theatre & Salisbury Playhouse
Tobacco Factory Theatres & Salisbury Creative
Lighting Designer Director: David Mercantali
Set designer: Anisha Fields
Feb 2020
a little space Theatre Square Chapel, Halifax (tour 1) & Home, Manchester (tour 2), then touring
Gecko & Mind the Gap
Lighting Designer Director: Rich Rusk
, Director: Dan Watson
, Director: Charli Ward & Karen Bartholomew
Set designer: Rhys Jarman
Nov 2019
Location availability:
  • UK London
  • UK Provinces
  • Western Europe & Scandinavia
  • Worldwide
Contact method Details
  • International
  • Regional (Main House)
  • Regional (Studio)
  • Small Scale Touring
  • Fringe / Pub Theatre
  • Touring relights
  • Small scale
  • International
  • UK National Company
  • Large Scale
  • Medium Scale
  • Small Scale
  • Touring relights
  • Lectures
  • Workshops


Appearing here soon... a collection of articles from the Focus magazine archives.

Press quotes

Snowed In

Will Holt’s minimal set — giant Alpine postcards and a mini-ziggurat of carpeted stairs — easily evokes both indoor and outdoor settings, aided by Chris Swain’s cleverly zoned lighting.
Louise Levene, Financial Times

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

A quartet of excellent performances illuminate Edward Albee’s unwieldy play
Ben Kulvichit, The Stage

a little space

Chris Swain’s versatile lighting – from eerie grey-green washes to the moveable lightboxes representing the apartment block – serves almost as an additional character, driving the fragmentary narrative forwards.
Tom Wollard, The Guardian