Setting the Scene: The Role of Candles in Stage and Screen Productions

At PUNKS & PEACOCKS, we appreciate the transformative power of candles not just in homes, but also in the dramatic and visual arts. Candles have been used in stage and screen productions for centuries, providing more than just illumination—they help set the mood, define time periods, and enhance the storytelling. This blog post explores the fascinating ways in which candles have been utilized in theatrical and cinematic settings to create captivating atmospheres and memorable scenes.

1. Historical Accuracy and Ambiance

Time-Setting Tools
In historical dramas, candles are often used to enhance authenticity, reflecting the lighting available during the era depicted. Whether it’s the flickering torches of medieval castles or the elegant candlelit balls of the Regency period, candles help establish a sense of time and place that is crucial for immersive storytelling.

Atmospheric Depth
Candles also play a critical role in creating atmosphere on stage and screen. The soft, flickering light of candles can evoke feelings of intimacy, mystery, or suspense, making them perfect for scenes requiring nuanced emotional undertones.

2. Symbolism and Motif

Symbolic Lighting
In both theatre and film, candles can carry significant symbolic weight. A single lit candle might represent life, hope, or solitude, while extinguishing a candle could symbolize death or the end of an era. Directors and set designers carefully choreograph these visual elements to add layers of meaning to a scene.

Recurring Motifs
Candles can also act as a motif throughout a production, recurring in crucial scenes to remind the audience of a particular theme or emotional landscape. Their presence can tie disparate parts of a story together, reinforcing the narrative arc and deepening viewer engagement.

3. Practical and Special Effects

Practical Illumination
On a practical level, candles are used to light scenes in a way that feels natural and unobtrusive, often in close-up shots where traditional lighting would be too harsh or detract from the scene’s authenticity.

Special Effects
Special effects involving candles, such as sudden extinguishing or enigmatic relighting, can add drama and tension. Advances in technology now allow for safe, controlled candle effects that can be repeated across multiple takes without risk.

4. Memorable Scenes Enhanced by Candles

Iconic Candlelit Scenes
Films like "Barry Lyndon" by Stanley Kubrick utilized candlelight almost exclusively in certain scenes to breathtaking effect, showcasing how candlelight can be employed to craft visually stunning cinema that remains historically authentic. On stage, productions like "Les Misérables" use candles in key scenes to evoke emotion and highlight characters’ inner turmoil.

5. Challenges and Modern Adaptations

Safety and Consistency
Using real candles comes with challenges such as safety risks and maintaining lighting consistency across performances. Modern stage and film productions often use LED candles to mimic the appearance and behavior of real flames, ensuring safety and consistency without sacrificing visual impact.

Combining Traditional and Modern Techniques
While LED candles provide a safe and practical alternative, many directors still prefer the authenticity of real candles, especially in close-up shots or intimate settings. Combining both real and artificial candles allows productions to balance practicality with artistic vision.


Candles continue to play a vital role in the art of storytelling within the world of stage and screen. They not only illuminate scenes but also enrich them, providing depth, atmosphere, and meaning. At PUNKS & PEACOCKS, we celebrate the creative use of candles in these artistic expressions and offer a variety of candles that can be used to enhance any production or creative project.

Explore our collection to find the perfect candles to light up your next artistic endeavor, whether it’s on stage, on screen, or beyond.