A night at the theatre can be a wonderful, uplifting experience that can make you smile for days afterwards.  There’s nothing like that curtain call, when we stand to salute the cast for its incredible performance, but none of this would be possible without the other, equally essential ingredients.

If everything’s perfect, but the lighting’s all wrong, it can really spoil what might otherwise have been a standing ovation-worthy production.

That’s where the brilliance of LED Lighting technology can really come into its own, as the once mired-in-tradition world of the theatre has begun to embrace it in all its glory.

Theatre Switches On To LEDs

Not all theatres are able to go all-LED, but for one small, Californian venue, LEDs were the only choice to make.

Sunnyvale Theatre in the City of Sunnyvale, California, made the bold choice to switch to an all-LED rig. Thanks to a lot of careful research, the right conditions and the massive recent advances in the quality of LED lighting, Sunnyvale Theatre's new LED-only lighting system has been a major success.

Previously, the theatre’s illumination had been provided by halogen lamps, but when, after only 20 years’ service, the system began to go badly wrong, the worried staff began looking at new solutions, and considered three different systems to replace it, one of which was LED.

Bill Rupel, Sunnyvale Theatre’s forward-thinking Technical Coordinator convinced city bigwigs to release extra funds to buy the new LED lighting rig to enable his staff to experiment with them in typical production situations.

"We worked them hard," he explains. "We used them as specials, for colour and black-and-white patterns, and we were popping lenses in them." The staff set the LED lights up alongside the conventional fixtures and saw that they could be used in any stage position, also discovering they out-performed them in every department.

By the end of the trial period, the theatre was delighted with the results.  "The benefits have far outweighed any downside. With this system, the possibilities are huge," says Rupel.

Increased Longevity

With the new LED-only rig, the lighting staff saves a lot of time on maintenance and by no longer having to constantly replace blown or expired halogen bulbs. This is due to the extended life-expectancy of LED lights which, at 50,000 hours, will outlast conventional incandescent bulbs more than 20 times over.

There’s also a great deal of time saved on programming and setup between shows because, with the LEDs’ colour-changing abilities, staff no longer have to swap the colour filters on the outdate halogen lamps.

Despite the higher initial cost of the new LED lighting system, the theatre had done enough research to realise that it would save them a lot of money over time. Because their new LEDs are made from fully recyclable, long-lasting materials, the venue no longer has to pay for lamp replacements, drastically reducing costs and waste going into landfills. The reduced maintenance alone saves them $1,000 per year.

Risk is also reduced, as the theatre technicians spend far less time climbing ladders replacing and maintaining the old lights.


By far the biggest saving, however, has been in the amount the theatre has been spending on power thanks to the LEDs. Indeed, the theatre has cut its energy expenditures by an enormous 80%, totalling $16,780 (£12,752 GBP) per year.

Thanks to the new LED lighting set-up, the theatre also garnered an award excellence from the California Parks and Recreation Society district, which recognized the move to an all-LED rig as a 'best practice' for venues such as this.

Sunnyvale Theatre has been so pleased with how the new LED lighting system has performed, that in January 2014, it held an open house to show it off.

"We used the Sunnyvale installation to show the local entertainment-technology community what they can do with LEDs," says Dinna Myers, the delighted Director of Sales and Marketing for the system’s suppliers Musson. "This technology works in this application, and it's time to embrace it."

If you’d like to find out more about how LED lights can benefit you or your venue, why not give the experts at Wholesale LED Lights a call on 0116 321 4120?

Or, if you’d prefer, you can send us an e-mail enquiry to