The show must go on: Supporting one of London’s landmark theatres with efficient emergency lighting

Wyndham’s Theatre first opened its doors in 1899, designed by architect William Sprague for the leading actor-manager of his day, Charles Wyndham. The Louis XVI style building has held a prominent position in the heart of London’s West End ever since, welcoming a host of stars, from Alec Guinness and Vanessa Redgrave to Madonna and Sienna Miller.

Seating up to 766 people each night, the importance of its emergency infrastructure and power protection is likely lost on all but a few of its patrons, but that doesn’t negate its significance. With that in mind, when the theatre’s emergency lighting system had reached the end of its working life, the theatre’s asset manager, Francois Duncker understood the level of urgency required to replace the existing equipment and safeguard the venue’s visitors, as he explains:

When our guests come to see a production, they rightfully expect to be safe at all times. In the very unlikely event that an emergency does occur, we need to be able to rely on our procedures, trained staff, and the theatre’s systems to facilitate an orderly evacuation, with the minimum of disruption. Should we suffer a power failure or should the house lights be compromised for any reason, the emergency lighting is critical to the evacuation process.

When we evaluated the existing equipment and infrastructure, we decided that although the system was still operational, and visitor’s safety wasn’t impacted, it was prudent to replace the old system. This decision was also driven by other efficiency work we had recently completed at the theatre, where we had installed LED lighting throughout. As a result, the size of the load had been reduced by three quarters, providing an opportunity to opt for a far smaller and more efficient emergency lighting system to power the secondary lighting that covers the venue’s escape routes.”


“With the decision made, we researched suppliers that were able to offer us a competitively priced package that could be installed immediately. After receiving a number of quotes, Kohler Uninterruptible Power (KUP) best met our needs, with an efficient product, experience of similar installations and the shortest lead time for delivery and installation.”

Working with the KUP team, Duncker specified the PowerWAVE EL100XA as the preferred product, with 6kVA capacity to support the 5kVA load for up to three hours.

“The PowerWAVE EL100XA fitted our requirements perfectly. In addition to its compliance with all the relevant European standards, its compact, self-contained nature meant installation in the theatre’s basement wouldn’t present any additional challenges. These benefits, combined with its documented efficiency credentials, which promised greater than 97 per cent efficiency, were all appealing attributes. The energy saving that we expect as a result, although not huge in financial terms due to the small size of the load, is an added advantage,” Duncker continued.

The PowerWave EL 100XA Series

The PowerWAVE EL100XA is a high-performance static inverter, with single-phase input and output, to provide emergency battery power for a range of applications. Using state-of-the-art technology, the EL100XA series is capable of 120% continuous overload, rapid recharge, and is available in a wall-mounted or standalone unit from 500VA to 3000VA.

Once on site, installation was performed in three hours, just weeks after Duncker first made contact, and was completed without any disruption to the theatre or its guests.

“The KUP team made the whole process painless, from the initial enquiry, through to the install, they were fast, efficient, and everything is working exactly as we expected. I would be happy to recommend them for any similar project,” Duncker concluded.


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