Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London

Date 1950
Location Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London
Number of Dimmers Designed for 216. 201 originally installed for cost reasons, later increased to 216 for Gone with the Wind (personal email from Alan Siggers).
Configuration 3-manual, curved stop-keys. Original on/off piston setters behind Console augmented with a set of later-model general pistons, settable by the operator via Post Office relays.
Notes Replaced the original electric control of 1898, and located in the same place: prompt-corner (though Jim Laws notes (2/4/07): “I thought it was in the Stalls box, SL side, accessed from the prompt corner. I visited TRDL with LAMDA in 1968 & this is how I recall it.”). Fitted with a long control cable so that it could be moved to the stalls for plotting, but this facility was never used. In use until 1975.Rescued by Jim Laws when TRDL needed the space, c.1992. JL has picture of Fred Bentham with this Console at the colour music demo at Robinson College, c.1995 & of Brian Legge demonstrating it at the ABTT Show, c.1993. This Console was shown on stage (on motorised radio-controlled truck used on The King & I) at The Palladium for Fred Bentham’s memorial /tribute show. Festoon working lights are Morris Minor trafficator type. Paul Weston related c.1998 that during the original run of My Fair Lady, when he ran the Console for the first few weeks, he was kept busy setting up pistons during the show, for use during busy periods in the same act. A tape recording extract exists of Robert Stanton calling this show.Currently in Jim Laws’ collection.
References Nigel Morgan, Stage Lighting Design in Britain, p.81, footnote 164, and pp.237-8.
Sightline 17/1, Spring 1983, p.47.
Personal email from Jim Laws (2/4/07): “final set of dimmers added for the last show “Gone with the Wind” (I think) R Pilbrow was LD. Extra dimmers came from the Adelphi (I think).”

The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane Light Console at Robinson College for Colour Music event, c.1995. From the collection of Jim Laws.

Strand publicity material showing the Drury Lane light console. From the collection of Adam Grater. Click for a larger image.

There is also a photo from the Fred Brown collection at the Strand Archive here.

More information and pictures, supplied by Alan Siggers