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Emergency power for the Theatre Royal

Client: Theatre Royal

Location: London, UK

Sectors: Contracting

The Challenge

Get emergency power up and running for a large theatre in just one day

When the theatre calls and says the show must go on, they mean, literally, the show must go on. So when a fire at Holborn Station caused power cuts, unstable electricity and chaos across London, the Theatre Royal called on us to provide emergency power in just one day. Naturally, it happened during one of the busiest periods on the theatre calendar so cancelling shows wasn’t an option. With such tight deadlines we had to think fast and act fast to get a stable power supply to the audience before the curtain went up.

Project fact file

Time taken to provide emergency power 6 hours
Support provided 24/7
Number of seats in the theatre 2,200

The Solution

Temporary power in place within hours

There wasn’t time to overthink the situation. We had to find the necessary resources, get the emergency experts on site, and have them put together a plan that could handle the demands of automated stage equipment. And we had to do it all within a day. Our people had to battle emergency road closures to get to the Sutton depot to pick up spare generators, battle back across the chaos with the generators, and by 1.00pm have engineers on site to survey the situation. By 6.45pm we had linked a series of generators together in a complex arrangement in time for the curtain to go up. 


“Aggreko’s service was excellent throughout. We are a large 2,200-seat theatre with complex power demands. Within the space of six hours they had the generators running.”

The Impact

Our behind-the-scenes role ensured the show could go on

Audiences remained in the dark about the behind-the-scenes drama and all the Easter performances went ahead as planned. The theatre avoided a financial disaster and a hit to their reputation, but it also made them realise they needed an emergency and recovery plan. Really Useful Theatres, who manage six commercial theatres in the heart of London’s West End, contracted us for their contingency planning. In the event of future fire, power failure, flood, or other emergencies they will be able to recover normal operations with minimal disruption and downtime.