October 23, 2014
Sheffield's historical Grade II* listed Lyceum Theatre re-opened Thursday 9 October following a successful renovation with a performance of Tim Firth's musical comedy This Is My Family. The performance earned numerous four star reviews and will now continue onwards with a UK national tour. During the opening night, the theatre welcomed an audience that included 200 of the project's contractors.
The 1,068-seat theatre has been hosting touring productions and operas since the late 1990s, however urgent upgrades were needed. We worked with the Lyceum to provide theatre equipment design services to help improve the building's auditorium equipment, energy consumption, and lighting control functionality.
Dan Bates, chief executive of Sheffield Theatres, who spearheaded the campaign for the refurbishment for the last two years, said, "I can’t quite believe the project is complete—it’s been something of a whirlwind: 9 weeks, £1.93 million, 450 contractors, 11 miles of new cabling, 950 new LED light fittings, 67 photovoltaic panels on our roof, countless litres of paint have all contributed to the transformation of our beautiful theatre. As I stood on the stage before the show and looked out into the audience, I felt so proud of everything the team has achieved. The quality of the work is exceptional and the end result is spectacular."
A lot of the technical equipment, such as lighting control and ventilation, were outdated and lacked energy efficiency. With this in consideration, one of our lead consultants Martin Bailey, project manager for the renovation, focused on three key areas for improvement: environmental sustainability, technical capacity and audience comfort. "An obvious issue was energy consumption and carbon footprint. A number of additions and changes were needed to significantly reduce this, such as the installation of LED light fittings and a more precise control of lighting. The outcome is a big improvement for the audience experience in the front of house areas, and a vast improvement in the operation and technical abilities of the Lyceum for the benefit of the theatre staff."
The redevelopment was made possible through funding from the Arts Council England and Sheffield City Council, with the remaining funds raised through the general public. The renovated theatre can now produce large-scale, environmentally friendly productions, while continuing to develop its audiences, and remain a top touring facility in the North of England.