Royal Court Theatre – UK

Location: Liverpool, UK

Client: Royal Court Liverpool Trust

Lighting Design: Buro Happold

Architect: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris


The Royal Court Theatre has been at the heart of Liverpool culture for nearly 200 years, first opening in 1826.  The theatre was destroyed by fire in 1933 and rebuilt in 1938 in the current Art Deco style of the era.  Since the summer of 2005 the building has been extensively refurbished, and has undergone something of a renaissance in the last three years.

Project brief

The client, Royal Court Liverpool Trust wanted to renovate and modernise the theatre whilst highlighting the original art deco architecture within the main hall.  Buro Happold worked closely with AHMM architects to develop a lighting scheme that would complement their design and vision for the space.

acdc’s solution

Buro Happold were looking for a small adjustable LED downlight that would sit flush with the ceiling, providing the required light levels yet allowing for a cosier effect surrounding the audience.   Linda Salamoun, from Buro Happold explained, “We wanted to leave the ceilings as clean as possible to define the art deco architecture from which the theatre originated but still had to provide sufficient lighting.  At this point acdc had the best product for the job in the form of the Hurricane 35”.

The downlight has a choice of soft curved reflector cups that can be applied to the fitting to guarantee a neat finish and enables the luminaire to blend seamlessly into the ceiling architecture.  The adjustable luminaire (to 35°) has a virtual pivot point to harness maximum light when fully adjusted and can be installed prior to the ceiling being finished, this allowed Buro Happold to adjust the luminaire to fit the sloped ceiling and fix the luminaire in the correct position prior to installation.  acdc’s Storm, a recessed miniature dimmable fixed downlight was also selected, complementing the Hurricane with its stylishly curved reflector which offers minimal glare.

The initial brief required the luminaires to be used in the first floor balcony only, however due to architectural constraints they were fitted further throughout the hall and in the ceiling space as well.  Linda added “the overall effect is just what we wanted, and works well within the general scheme of the theatre”.


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