Community Classroom

How were special effects created before electricity and cameras?

Headshot of Leon Potter

Leon Potter takes people behind the curtain to learn about theatre magic

Have you ever wondered how people created special effects before electricity? Potter says theatres developed “elaborate designs and machinery to create awe and wonder” for the audience. During his fall 2023 VIU Arts and Humanities Colloquium lecture Potter revealed the secrets behind this theatre magic.

Potter has been working in theatre and film since 1989. He trained at the University of Victoria as a set and lighting designer. His career spans a myriad of positions including director, actor, designer and technician. He began working as a director in 1994 and became the artistic director of the Looking Glass Theatre in Vancouver and Blue Peanut Productions. He completed his training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and Kings College in London with a Master of Arts, with distinction, in Directing. Potter also leads workshops and adjudications around the province.

Watch Potter’s presentation:

Since 2009, Arts and Humanities Colloquium presentations have inspired conversations about ideas among members of the Arts and Humanities faculty and their communities both at VIU and in the mid-Island region. Presenters show how important the arts and humanities are to understanding today’s world.



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