Sadler’s Wells


One of the most revered entertainment spaces in the UK, Sadler’s Wells Theatre has a global reputation for hosting the most prestigious dance performances in exceptionally beautiful surroundings.

In 2013 work began on a full upgrade of the infrastructure and technology of both the front of house and backstage areas of the Grade II listed building, with renowned theatre consultant Roger Spence at the helm, and GDS part of the team.

The venue needed a low-energy, LED lighting system that could accommodate virtually all areas of the building including panel lighting at the front of the circle, emergency lighting, row-end markers, emergency exit signs and house lights.


The flexibility provided by made it the natural choice for this project and to date, it remains the largest and most sophisticated ArcSystem ever installed, using more than 570 fittings, from a variety of GDS’ product ranges.

Virtually every type of fitting from the ArcSystem Decor and Pro ranges was used, including single, two and four cell fixtures and our MR16 fitting, installed both wirelessly and using cables.

Our ability to custom-make specialist fixtures meant we were also able to provide to fulfil the brief such as custom 2W row-end markers, modifications to the circle-front panel lighting, and an upgrade of the existing emergency exit signs by converting them to 24V DC LEDs.


After first seeing our ArcSystem at PLASA 2011, Sadler’s Wells technical manager Christian Wallace was very happy with the results our ArcSystem provided. He said ‘We were so impressed with the dimming capability and the colour temperatures that it was an easy call to make and one that has been very much vindicated by the finished project.

During the project, GDS developed a number of bespoke solutions – the panel lighting on the circle fronts, which prior to the refit had been a headache, was a particularly noteworthy example of their ingenuity. The end results, both functionally and aesthetically are superb.’

Project Director Roger Spence noted, “I have been very impressed with GDS, particularly with their imaginative and proactive approach to some of the more difficult challenges we have presented them with.’

"The end results, both functionally and aesthetically are superb"

Christian Wallace

Technical Manager, Sadler's Wells