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Due to the ongoing effects of closure at the Royal Opera House, information about artists is only updated periodically during this time. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

John B. Read

Lighting designer


John B. Read is one of the most distinguished lighting directors working in dance. He was consultant lighting designer to The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet 1992–2005. His many original lighting designs for The Royal Ballet include Frederick Ashton’s Rhapsody and The Dream, Anthony Dowell’s staging of Swan Lake, Natalia Makarova’s staging of La Bayadère and Kenneth MacMillan’s The Prince of the Pagodas, The Rite of Spring, Gloria and Romeo and Juliet, and for The Royal Opera, Götz Friedrich’s production of Der Ring des Nibelungen, in addition to many redesigns for revivals.

Read was born in Burnham-on-Crouch and trained at the Rose Bruford College. He made his US debut in 1974 on the American premiere of Death in Venice at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, and has since lit Aida for English National Opera, as well as working for many other opera companies. He has worked with ballet companies around the world, including La Scala, Milan, Stanislavsky Theatre Moscow, and in Stuttgart, Berlin, Vienna, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Oslo and the Netherlands, as well as for Canadian National Ballet, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Houston, San Francisco, K Ballet Japan, Rambert Dance Company, London City Ballet and London Festival Ballet. His work has also been seen in the West End and at the National Theatre.

Read has worked with many leading choreographers, including David Bintley, Ulysses Dove, Wayne Eagling, Alastair Marriott, Rudolf Nureyev, Ashley Page, Jerome Robbins, Glenn Tetley and Antony Tudor.

News and features

Making Moonshine: How theatres give the impression of moonlight

17 January 2014
Making Moonshine: How theatres give the impression of moonlight

We take a look at history of moonlight on stage in Giselle and beyond.