White Light founder John Simpson has passed away at the age of 79, following a short battle with cancer.
News of Simpson’s death was announced via the White Light website, where the company paid tribute to his immense contribution to the world of theatre lighting, as well as his work as chair of Backup, an organisation which provides financial support for technical professionals in need of help across the industry.
“Those of you who were lucky enough to know John, or work with him, will know what a brilliant person he was and how this is not only a huge loss to White Light but also the wider industry,” a statement from White Light said: “John had a lifelong passion for theatre lighting and his co-founding of WL was both a pioneering and revolutionary move; forever changing the way the industry would operate. Not only did he have incredible foresight but, most importantly, he was warm, caring, approachable and had complete respect for all of those who worked with him; never believing in hierarchies. His attitude was embodied in how WL operates as a business, with its core values of being dependable, friendly, knowledgeable, adaptable, and customer-focused at the heart of the organisation.
Having established itself as an industry leader in the theatre lighting world over the past 51 years, Simpson also utilised White Light’s technical expertise to move into such sectors as live events, broadcast, hospitality, education, live music and more.
“John’s philosophy was ‘if you’re not moving forward, you’re just standing still’” the statement continued. “[The company] went from a small office in Sloane Square to moving to a former old brewery site in Fulham in 1977 before settling in its current home in Wimbledon in 2001. Today, whilst theatre lighting still lies at the heart of the company, it is now industry leaders in many other fields – yet has maintained the passion and integrity that John ensured was part of the company’s DNA.”
Simpson is survived by his partner Sue and three daughters Victoria, Laura and Emily.
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