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Theatre Royal Drury Lane


Location Client Cost Completion Awards
London, UK LW Theatres £60m 2021 1

Project details

For the first time in a century the Grade I listed Theatre Royal Drury Lane has been completely refurbished to cutting edge production standard, from the back of the house through the auditorium to the original 18th century Wyatt reception rooms. The complete rejuvenation means the building is fully accessible for the first time, with enhanced functional use for a wider variety of theatrical performances.

The lighting team worked closely with Haworth Tompkins Architects to determine how each paint finish looks in daylight and under the warm candlelight that transforms each space in the evenings. Every room was researched for drawings, finance records and publications across the long history of London’s first modern theatre. The lighting brings together an innovative combination of stage technologies and latest low energy LED lamps with 18th century techniques of glass cutting and low level integrated candelabra to create a warm 5* ambience in keeping with the historic interiors and Wyatt’s original drawings. Drury Lane has always been at the forefront of lighting technologies and was regularly one of the first to implement the latest innovation of the time, whether whale oil, gas or electricity. Dimming technologies previously used only on stage and in the auditoria have been adopted throughout the whole building to maximise flexibility and balance the same level of sensitivity and ambience across all areas of the visitor experience.

Read more about the project in our Annual Review

Everything that's been done is subtle to let the architecture sing and the lighting feel original when in fact it's very much supplemented. It's incredibly sensitive.

Andrew Franz American Institute of Architects Judge

A beautifully executed project which sees the Theatre return to its original intentions.

Judges’ Comments Civic Trust Awards 2022


  • a complete refurbishment to meet cutting edge production standards, enable full accessibility and enhance functional use
  • inspiration to match the original 1810 lighting scheme as closely as possible


  • london regional award RIBA - RIBA London Award 2023
  • the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in Coveted lighting
  • 2022 Stage Award for the Theatre Building of the Year
  • build Back Better Awards Platinum 2022 - Lighting category
  • finalist in AJ Retrofit and Civic Trust awards
  • gold Award at the 2022 World Interior News Awards
  • archive research traced remaining Wyatt designed light fittings still in existence in the country, these were laser scanned, re-modelled and moulds 3D-printed to return the iron cast standard lamps to the staircase and atria
  • flexibility was maximised and atmosphere balanced across all areas of the visitor experience
  • a simulated flicker broadcast through the standard lamps matches the original 1810 lighting scheme as closely as possible
  • international LIT Awards 2022 - Heritage Lighting

Integrated services