Lightwire Theatre: A Very Electric Christmas
Ian and Eleanor Carney were both born and raised in New Orleans and met at the age of 13, through ballet class. Their successful dancing careers took them to New York, and it was on Broadway when Ian met co-creator, Corbin Popp, while dancing in Twyla Tharp’s Movin’ Out. An immediate connection was made between the kindred spirits as they discovered their mutual love of art, theater, and technology. After coming across a product called, “EL wire,” the lights turned on and the possibilities seemed endless. Together, with their wives Eleanor and Whitney, they began to experiment with shapes and designs to develop puppetry-based neon creatures that quickly came to life.
After years of engineering and development, they initially founded CORBiAN Visual Arts and Dance. Although New York offered many opportunities, Ian and Eleanor wanted to return to New Orleans shortly after Hurricane Katrina hit their hometown. With the hopes of helping to rebuild their city, they were joined by Corbin and Whitney Popp and eventually founded Lightwire Theater.
Since then, they have become internationally recognized for their signature brand of electroluminescent artistry, poignant storytelling and music scores designed to evoke imagery. Lightwire Theater continues to create and deliver innovative theatrical experiences to audiences worldwide based out of New Orleans, LA.
The process of building Lightwire Theater’s electroluminescent characters starts with the creators and the cast. They build everything themselves from the ground up, with each sculpture taking nearly 200 hours of intensive labor. The foundation begins with a base that includes triggers and armatures. They utilize recyclable materials including aluminum rods, election signs, skateboard wheels, dryer ducting, plumbing supplies, PVC pipes, fishing poles, duct tape, zip ties and backpacks to help define peaks and angles. These common household items help create durable and pliable sculptures that can withstand the movement of the dancers and multiple performances. Black fabric is added to the sculpture for dimension and then lined with electroluminescent wire known as “el wire” which is soldered everywhere the wire is connected. Unlike black lights, “el wire” can be powered by batteries, requires no theatrical lighting and gives a 360-degree of glowing light. Once the character is “turned on” it can use up to 16 AA or rechargeable batteries per performance. The result…anything your inner-child can dream of including 16-ft. tall birds, dinosaurs, ducks, soldiers, swords and more!
Ian and Eleanor Carney were both born and raised in New Orleans and met at the age of 13, through ballet class. Their successful dancing careers took them to New York, and it was on Broadway when Ian met co-creator, Corbin Popp, while dancing in Twyla Tharp’s Movin’ Out. An immediate connection was made between […]