The Dimmer Project WHILE the Main Stage at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre goes dark for the summer, July and August are anything but quiet for their team as they embark on The Dimmer Project. The summer months are usually the time for the Theatre to carry out any major maintenance work that just cannot be achieved while the auditorium is in use and productions are playing on the stage. This year, the Theatre is hugely relieved to be undertaking The Dimmer Project, upgrading their dimmers – the theatre lighting power which makes the stage lights controllable.

The need for this upgrade has become increasingly urgent because functional stage lighting is paramount to the survival of the Theatre: they simply can’t operate without it, so this project is safeguarding their future. 

Yvonne Arnaud Technical Manager Liza Cheal explains just what this work involves – and why it is so important for the Theatre:

“In 1965, when the Theatre opened, a dimmer system was installed.  Ten years later, we upgraded that dimmer system – and that’s what we are still using today! 

“Since it was installed, lighting technology and production values have changed immeasurably and our current dimmer switches and their associated housing and wiring are now over 40 years old, making them outdated and inefficient. 

“We have waited a long time, so that’s why it’s so exciting that this project is finally happening!”

The Dimmer Project will take nine weeks to complete, as the Theatre embarks on replacing their old, slightly unpredictable kit with neat computerised equipment. The upgrade is the equivalent of replacing the chunky old box-shaped computers with modern, compact laptops.

In recent years, the Theatre has had to use conversion equipment to enable them to run their analogue dimmers into modern, computerised control but once The Dimmer Project has been completed, modern digitally lit productions will just work exactly as they should. 

The Project will be completed in time for the launch of the Yvonne Arnaud’s New Season of events, which opens on Wednesday, August 22 with a season of the very best film releases of 2018.