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Mike Hume’s Historic Theatre Photography

Mike Hume’s Historic Theatre Photography

Mike comes from a unique background combining years of technical theatre experience with architectural photography, all spanning time spent in multiple countries. Here is the story behind Historic Theatre Photography.

Mike photographing the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, in London
Mike photographing the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, in London

Mike’s interest in technical theatre was ignited by his father’s role as Stage Manager with the critically-acclaimed Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Edinburgh Link opens in new window, staging annual shows at Edinburgh’s historic Edwardian-era King’s Theatre.

Yearly trips to see the King’s pantomime, featuring Scottish legends such as Stanley Baxter, Una McLean, Russell Hunter, Allan Stewart, Jimmy Logan, Rikki Fulton, Walter Carr, and Johnny Beattie, always included a backstage visit after the show to meet the cast and to see the set, scenery painting, props, lighting, and special effects from the other side of the curtain. All this firmly fixed Mike on a path to pursue his interest in theatrical lighting design, set construction, and production management.

Through his relationship with the staff at the King’s Theatre Mike was introduced to renowned UK lighting designer Francis Reid, and sat-in on his stage lighting plotting sessions for several pantomimes, furthering Mike’s interest in a career in technical theatre.

Los Angeles Music Center, Los Angeles: Founders Room, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Los Angeles Music Center, Los Angeles: Founders Room, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

Mike won a place on Scottish Youth Theatre’s Link opens in new window summer school of 1991, and over the following years as a Scottish Youth Theatre (SYT) alumnus lit several productions for both SYT and XSYT Productions, the latter being an offshoot of SYT producing shows with SYT alumni. This included lighting productions for actors such as Brian Cox Link opens in new window, Blythe Duff Link opens in new window, and Colin McCredie Link opens in new window, in addition to XSYT being invited to take a show to Stratford-upon-Avon as part of the Antigones Project in 1992, with Mike designing lighting for the critically acclaimed Royal Shakespeare Company Link opens in new window.

In the mid-1990s Mike worked multiple summer seasons with the National Youth Music Theatre Link opens in new window (NYMT) both at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Link opens in new window and in the prestigious Edinburgh Festival Theatre, featuring the largest stage in the UK at the time, for NYMT’s flagship production Pendragon, filmed by the BBC.

As a direct result of his involvement with XSYT and lighting shows in Stratford-upon-Avon, in the late 1990s Mike was contracted to light a pre West End production of Jesus, My Boy starring renowned UK actor Tom Conti Link opens in new window. Mike’s lighting and stage projection designs were carried-over to the limited run in London’s West End (December 1998 to February 1999) at the Apollo Theatre.

Million Dollar Theatre, Los Angeles: Orchestra under Balcony
Million Dollar Theatre, Los Angeles: Orchestra under Balcony

In the 2000s Mike continued to light productions for leading theatre companies in Edinburgh, and for many years was Production Manager for the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Edinburgh Link opens in new window in addition to co-designing their sets.

Corporate Life & Education

Since 2010 Mike has been based in Los Angeles as a C-level IT professional with over 25 years’ experience in the financial and legal services industries, working in Australia, North America, the UK, and Europe.

After a period spent advising IT startups on the U.S. West Coast, Mike became the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for KCC Link opens in new window, a highly-respected legal services company based in Los Angeles. You can read more about Mike’s corporate career on LinkedIn Link opens in new window.

Mike earned his Honours degree in Computer Science from Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University Link opens in new window, is recognized as a Chartered IT Professional by the UK Engineering Council Link opens in new window, and has the distinction of being a Fellow of the British Computer Society Link opens in new window.

Volunteer Work

Mike has served as a photographer and docent (tour guide) with the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation (LAHTF) Link opens in new window since 2016, and in January 2018 became a Board Director, allowing him to play an integral part in preserving and protecting Los Angeles County’s historic theatres for future generations.

Mike photographing the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre in San Antonio, Texas
Mike photographing the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre in San Antonio, Texas

Projects with LAHTF have included the Apple Tower Theatre Link opens in new window and Netflix’s Egyptian Theatre Link opens in new window. You can read more about the LAHTF Board here on their website Link opens in new window.

Mike is a regular event photographer for, and Supporting Member of, the Los Angeles Conservancy Link opens in new window, the largest membership-based historic preservation organization in the United States. His photography for the Conservancy has been published at both local and national levels, including feature photos in the playbill for the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles’ Link opens in new window production of “Henry IV” in June/July 2018 starring Tom Hanks Link opens in new window and Hamish Linklater Link opens in new window.

In addition to his background in technical theatre and stage design, Mike is passionate about historic theatres and architectural photography. You can view some of Mike’s favorite non-theatrical photography over on Flickr Link opens in new window or at photos.mikehume.com Link opens in new window.

Research & Atmospheric Theatres

The Majestic Theatre in San Antonio, Texas, considered one of the best examples of an atmospheric theatre
The Majestic Theatre in San Antonio, Texas, considered one of the best examples of an atmospheric theatre

Mike has conducted extensive research into the Atmospheric theatre style Link opens in new window, an interior design style which was popularized in 1920s theatres in the United States. Simply put, atmospheric theatres were designed to evoke the sense of being transported to a far-off exotic outdoor location. The most popular styles were Spanish and Italian, however the atmospheric theatre style includes theatres designed to look like Mesoamerican temples, Japanese tea gardens, Medieval castles, and even a Dutch village complete with working windmills!

Mike partnered with the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation Link opens in new window to create an 80-minute video documentary about atmospheric theatres across the United States and the rest of the world. The documentary has been replayed numerous times including for Center Theatre Group Link opens in new window staff in Los Angeles, and as a special co-presentation with the UK-based Cinema Theatre Association Link opens in new window.

You can read more about Mike’s research into the atmospheric theatre style on his dedicated Atmospherics micro-site.

Hobbies, and Coming To America

Mike is a keen motorcycle rider and owns two sports bikes; you can read more about that here Link opens in new window.

Mike’s Citizenship Ceremony on 21st November 2019 outside the Pasadena Civic Auditorium
Mike’s Citizenship Ceremony on 21st November 2019 outside the Pasadena Civic Auditorium

After first visiting Chicago for a three-month work assignment in the Summer of 2000, Mike spent two years in the U.S. Northeast working in Boston and then New York, from 2005 to 2007.

To build upon those experiences, Mike negotiated another work assignment in Los Angeles starting in 2010, which led to regular time spent in San Francisco as well.

Following multiple visa extensions – then a green card – Mike was incredibly proud to be awarded with American citizenship in late 2019, at a ceremony which took place at an historic theatre: the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

Mike has combined his passions of theatre, photography, history, and preservation into this website: Historic Theatre Photos. In addition to this website, Historic Theatre Photos is also on Instagram Link opens in new window and Facebook Link opens in new window.

You can view a complete archive of all Mike’s theatre and event photography work at theatre.mikehume.com Link opens in new window.

Memberships & Associations

Mike has served on the Board of the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation (LAHTF) Link opens in new window since 2018 and is a Supporting Member of the Los Angeles Conservancy Link opens in new window, the largest membership-based historic preservation organization in the United States. By virtue of his LAHTF Board position Mike is also an active member of the League of Historic American Theatres (LHAT) Link opens in new window.

Mike is also a proud member of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) Link opens in new window, in addition to UK organizations the Cinema Theatre Association Link opens in new window and the Frank Matcham Society Link opens in new window.

In the corporate world, Mike is recognized as a Fellow of the British Computer Society Link opens in new window and holds Chartered Engineer status with the British Engineering Council Link opens in new window.

Photography Equipment List

Mike photographing the Alex Theatre in Glendale
Mike photographing the Alex Theatre in Glendale
@HistoricTheatrePhotos on Instagram

Historic Theatre Photography

Photographs copyright © 2002-2023 Mike Hume / Historic Theatre Photos unless otherwise noted.

Text copyright © 2017-2023 Mike Hume / Historic Theatre Photos.

For photograph licensing and/or re-use contact me here Contact Us.



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