Stunning set, lighting and video design, working to create a totally unique world for Christopher.
Some fabulous details in the theatre too – all emergency lighting and exit signage is switched off for moments when a total blackout is required, to great effect.
As well as a variety of pre-programmable lights, which can change direction and colour under the control of a lighting control computer, there are also high quality video projectors – on each of the three walls and onto the floor from directly above. These are fed with a variety of different images and pre-recorded video sequences via media servers to help to portray Christopher’s world, as well as his inner feelings. These combine with a huge number of LED pin-point light sources built into the stage floor, which can be controlled by the lighting computer, and also the video system, so a fluid mix between light and video can be achieved.
6 high power projectors (two doubled up to get the required brightness on the stage floor, then one each on the SL, SR, Upstage wall, plus an additional one on the front of the dress circle seating balcony, front of house):
2 x soft-edged ETC Source Four followspots (from above the SR and SL wall, not from front of house)
Altman UV Fresnels
MDG Atmosphere smoke machine
Look Solutions PowerTiny smoke machine
Viper smoke machine
234 sound cues played from Qlab
Digico SD9 mixing console
9 x Panasonic PTD-SK12KU projectors
Digico SD9 mixing console
The programme clip from the BBC below includes an interview with Paule Constable the lighting designer, Bunny Christie the set designer and Adrian Sutton the composer as they explain their philosophy for the show.
The show features Toby (a rat) and a puppy (which Christopher names). Toby is played by one of a pair of rats who are resident in the theatre, and cared for by staff in the building.
A new puppy is brought into the show every 9 weeks, and is provided by an animal handler (in London), who rears and trains the puppies for the show.
Around 40 minutes into the first act of the show on December 19th 2013, a large portion of the ceiling collapsed, leading to over 80 injuries, 7 of which were serious, but not life-threatening.
The cause of the incident was found to be weakened hessian wadding which formed a reinforcing part of the plaster ceiling and which formed ties which held the plasterwork to timber supporting beams. Westminster City Council, which governs the safety regulations for many West End theatres, required checks of the ceiling every 3 years, and the Apollo Theatre checks were up-to-date. The ceiling was original to the theatre (dating from 1901). More strict regulations have been brought in, and all West End theatres of similar age and with similar plaster ceilings, have been checked, to hopefully prevent the accident happening again. Guardian news article BBC News article
Westminster City Council has published a range of reports on the incident (available on the ABTT website)
The venue reopened in March 2014 with an adaptation of Let The Right One In, with a false ceiling blocking the fourth tier / balcony and original ceiling, to enable investigations and other works to continue.