Bruno Rafie studied pure and applied sciences before creating his lighting designs, which have been seen in North America, Europe and Asia. Feeling more affinity with the artistic community than the realm of science, he enrolled in the theatre program at the University of Quebec in Montreal as an independent student.
During that period he designed his first lighting for Montreal’s legendary music venue the Spectrum and shortly afterwards, the lighting designer Alain Lortie invited Bruno, who was only 22 at the time, to tour the world with him as his assistant on a show by the multidisciplinary artist Michel Lemieux. This experience would prove to be the foundation for his career.
For over 20 years, Bruno has designed lighting for circus, song, dance, drama, comedy, TV programs and special events - nearly 100 productions so far. Working with Alain Lortie, he designed the lighting for Peter Gabriel’s Us tour in England in 1993, as well as quick-change artist Arturo Brachetti’s show The Man of a Thousand Faces in 1999.
Bruno has created the lighting for such artists as Stevie Wonder, Pat Metheny and Ben Harper at the Montreal International Jazz Festival and he has also worked with most of the big names in Quebec music, winning the Félix award as Lighting Designer of the Year in 1994 and again in 2001. He also worked in the worlds of dance and drama in Quebec.
Bruno, who has been teaching since 1997, was Lighting Designer in Residence for seven years at the National Circus School in Montreal, and worked on a dozen circus shows before coming to Cirque du Soleil for the first time in 2004 as co-lighting designer of Midnight Sun, a show marking the 20th anniversary of Cirque and the 25th anniversary of the Montreal Jazz Festival. The following year, he was director of photography for the opening ceremonies of the 21st FINA World Aquatics Championships.
"Light is very important to Banana Shpeel,” says Bruno Rafie. “Our challenge was to create a harmony between the lighting, set design and costumes to evoke the 1930s. We go from black and white to color, from warm light to a dazzling brightness. These two axes intersect throughout the show according to the narrative.”
Bruno Rafie was born in Montreal in 1965.