Creating A New Venue At A Favourite London Venue

White Light

White Light help create the Elgar Room, a new venue within London’s historic Royal Albert Hall

When the Royal Albert Hall, London’s unique, historic and ever-popular concert venue, decided to create a new performance space within its landmark building, it was to leading entertainment lighting supplier White Light that it turned to help with the process, calling on the company to provide a lighting, AV and technical infrastructure for the new, multi-function Elgar Room.

Located on the west side of the Hall, and formerly known as the West Theatre, the room provided the original home for the Central School of Speech and Drama from 1906 until 1957 and, as such, has played host to many theatre professionals such as Sir Laurence Olivier and Dame Judi Dench. A £1million renovation has seen the room turned into a highly-functional multi-purpose venue, raised flooring removed to create one large space, the original floor-to-ceiling windows restored and with an audience capacity of up to 350 people; when not in use for performances, it doubles as a restaurant.

In equipping a room that would have to cope with anything from late night gigs, comedy nights, cabaret, and theatre performances to after-show parties, Ollie Jeffery, Senior Technical Manager at the Royal Albert Hall, knew that a flexible lighting and technical infrastructure would be required, to allow the room to be configured to suit different events quickly and easily. As he explains, “we needed to create a lighting system that would give us maximum flexibility for performance requirements, but would also not encroach on the restaurant.” He turned to White Light, who have successfully collaborated with the Royal Albert Hall’s staff on a number of other recent projects, to come up with a suitable scheme.

“We designed a simple yet versatile system of white rigging positions distributed across the room, with a facilities panel recessed into the ceiling above each,” explains White Light’s Roger Hennigan. “Each panel has a Socapex outlet, a DMX outlet, an AV power outlet and AV tie lines, with AV then wired back to an AV cupboard and lighting back to a lighting cupboard each containing appropriate patches.”

White Light then supplied an ETC SmartPack wall-mounted dimmer rack with SmartLink outstation plus two LSC 5-way DMX splitters and an Avo Pearl console, as well as a core lighting rig of six Vari-Lite VL2500 Spots, ten Chroma-Q Color Block 2 LED fixtures, six ETC Source Four Jr Zooms and six Selecon Acclaim Fresnels, the conventional fixtures all supplied with white finishes. Two ETC Source Fours with 19˚ Enhanced Definition lenstubes complete the rig, used for high quality corporate gobo projection.

In announcing the new room, the Royal Albert Hall noted its “impressive lighting infrastructure,” the result of the close collaboration between client and supplier. “Working with White Light on this project was a pleasure, as always,” Ollie Jeffery notes. “Their advice, professionalism and constant support was invaluable and we are extremely happy with the end result. We hope we can strengthen the long relationship with this successful company by working on many more exciting projects!”

The Elgar Room and its new lighting infrastructure have already been put to use on a variety of events, including after show parties for Elton John and for Monty Python’s Not The Messiah to a comedy night with Patrick Monahan. More information about the Elgar Room, and the Royal Albert Hall as a whole, can be found at

Posted 13 November 2009