White Light Enjoys The Great Christmas Feast


The Great Christmas Feast has now opened in a secret London location.






Created by The Lost Estate, London’s master experience makers, The Great Christmas Feast transports audiences  to the streets of Victorian  London  and the chambers of Charles Dickens, immersing them in the tale of A  Christmas  Carol through a mix of theatre, live music, fine dining and Dickensian mixology. It is making a much-anticipated return to the capital this year and White Light has provided the lighting equipment.  






The Great Christmas Feast first opened in 2018 and offers audiences the unique opportunity to experience a compelling theatrical experience along with a four course meal, with this year’s banquet being the work of Michelin Star chef Adam Gray. The lighting designer is Peter Small, who is working on the project for the first time. He comments: “Like most lighting designers and freelancers working in our industry, it’s been a very challenging few months. With virtually all my upcoming work cancelled, I’ve tried my hardest to keep myself busy, mainly though helping with my partner’s newly-founded facemask business. But I have hugely missed working in theatre so to get the call for The Great Christmas Feast was incredibly welcomed and I couldn’t wait to get started”. 






The Great Christmas Feast takes place in a bespoke building located near London Bridge. As such, Peter’s design not only had to fulfil the show’s artistic brief but also be suitable for this specific space. He explains: “As a creative team, we were interested in exploring the central idea of ‘motivational practical lighting’, with elements of fantastical behaviour. The lighting design is always grounded in reality but then flows with the story. There is a main performance room which is where the audience sit at tables surrounding a central stage as well as up on a mezzanine. There has to be a different table configuration each night due to the Covid-regulations and the tables are kept apart via bookshelves which are scenic but also function as Covid-compliant barriers. 






Peter visited WL back in October to decide what fixtures to draw on for the show.






He continues: “At the start of the piece, it’s lit entirely with practical lamps and gas jet foot lights in order to create what’s a false start within the show. Then, once the story actually begins, we start to descend slowly into our more fantastical language where the rest of the rig really gets to flex and provide a myriad of effects and looks. At its peak, we touch on almost Hitchcockian Vertigo-esque visuals, to then drift back to a believable study for an eating interval”. 






In order to choose the fixtures required to bring his design to life, Peter approached WL and worked closely with Senior Account Handler Louise Houlihan. He explains: “Due to the kitchen equipment consuming so much of the building’s power and to minimise the handling of equipment, I opted for a predominantly LED rig. There was a toplight with ETC ColorSource Spots, accompanied with 23 MAC Aura XBs; all arranged into three ‘rings’ around the playing area to provide the backbone of the rig. These were constantly refocusing to provide various effects as well as moving as one to create geometric patterns. I went with the VL1100S LEDs as we needed something very quiet with shuttering and colour mixing and knowing the VL1000 range, this seemed a sensible choice. Around 89 birdies (all with accessories) perform a variety of functions, from work light to specials to scenic dressing, whilst Coemar LED Pars light up through the floor boards. In terms of additional atmosphere, the Unique 2.1, Viper 2.6 and JEM AF-1 are all used to great effect. The design also had around 50 – 70 custom commissioned practicals including a large Gasolier, which were provided by PRAX Lighting Ltd and Junction Ltd”. 






With The Great Christmas Feast taking place in the midst of a global pandemic, this means the production has had to contend with the ever-changing regulations being implemented. Peter explains: “Like most productions taking place during this surreal time, with the various tiers and lockdowns, it was touch and go for a while as to whether we would even be allowed to go ahead. Thankfully we were but we knew we would have to adhere to the very strict government guidelines every step of the way. With everyone complying to social distancing, the get-in took a lot longer than it normally would. Similarly, the scenic design had to continue changing rather late into the process, depending on the latest restrictions, so this made planning where to put the equipment challenging. That said, Adam Squire and his team were fantastic at inventing rigging solutions and the whole team worked together with a ‘can do’ attitude in order to ensure the show was able to open once we were out of the second lockdown. Similarly, the team at WL was an amazing support and went out of their way to ensure we had everything we required”. 






The Great Christmas Feast has now opened and, subject to new regulations, will run until 10th January 2021. 






Peter concludes: “This was a challenging project in the sense that we had to mount a large and complex show within both a tight timeframe and non-traditional space. However, the results have been extraordinary and it felt fantastic to be back at a production desk, making theatre. It made me realise just how much I’ve missed it and I cannot wait until we’re all through the other side of this and back doing what we love”.  






Photos courtesy of Peter Small.




The post White Light Enjoys The Great Christmas Feast appeared first on White Light.