Boulevard Theatre, Soho
Located adjacent to Walkers Court, which The Telegraph describes as “this red-light district’s answer to Diagon Alley,” the Boulevard Theatre rose to fame thanks to the Raymond Revue Bar. Its offer of erotic entertainment, at that time only found in European cities such as Amsterdam and Paris, made it the Soho landmark it is today.
Following several reincarnations and changes in purpose, by the 1980s it had a new lease of life when it became a comedy club. The theatre is well-known for playing a key role in the emerging careers of several comedy greats, including Rik Mayall, Dawn French, Eddie Izzard and Alexei Sayle before closing its doors in the early 1990s.
The brand-new Boulevard Theatre reopened in 2019 as a state-of-the-art entertainment venue, featuring Europe’s most advance revolving theatre. The transformation of the Boulevard includes a high-tech performance space, an intimate 165 seats, and a fully revolving auditorium and balcony. This flexibility will allow the theatre to change its configuration and layout to host many different types of production.
A new, two-storey glass bridge will lead to a restaurant and bar area, perfect for pre-theatre meals and drinks, as well as refreshments during the intervals. The redevelopment is part of a wider regeneration scheme across all of Walker’s Court.
Leading London lighting designers, 18 Degrees, were appointed to create the lighting scheme for the newly renovated theatre. LUMINO were brought into the project by 18 Degrees and worked closely with their expert team to supply custom floor to ceiling lengths of V36S with a DMX controlled RGBW solution, and V12S integrated within the adjustable staging to provide low-level lighting to the stairs.
To ensure a high-quality white light was achieved, LUMINO used its two-step ColorCORE chip packages with an RGB side-by-side chip. This allows high colour rendering and output to be maintained, while offering the range of colours required by 18 Degrees. These luminaires were integrated into the wall panels surrounding both levels of the compact theatre, as well as to the ceiling in the bar area.
Speaking of their work together at the Boulevard Theatre, Christopher Knowlton, Director and Designer at 18 Degrees said: “Working with LUMINO has been great! Not only is the product fantastic, but the service and support throughout the project has been second to none.”
The unique circular, rotating stage can also be split to multiple levels, while the balcony can also rotate 270 degrees. It is therefore imperative that the lighting matches the flexibility of the stage and seating configurations. By individually addressing each luminaire, the theatre has the option to tailor the house lighting to the individual event, or the layout of the stage and seating at any given time. In addition to this, the house lighting has been used to add an extra depth to the lighting design throughout the opening production, Ghost Quartet, from the three-time Tony Award-nominated writer Dave Malloy.
Ghost Quartet began its London premiere, two-month run, at the newly imagined theatre when it opened its doors in October 2019.