The Lord of the Rings: The Musical

Official website:

Creative Team:

Producer: Kevin Wallace
Director: Matthew Warchus
Lighting Design: Paul Pyant
Associate Lighting Designer: David Howe
Set & Costume Designer: Rob Howell
Choreographer: Peter Darling
Fight Director: Terry King
Production Stage Manager: Sam Hunter

The Lord of the Rings Musical CD
Buy at
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Related Equipment:

Alpha Wash Halo (2007)
Cyrano (1999)
VL3000 (2002)


LSI: The Lord of the Rings - Toronto (April 2006)
[20.44Mb PDF]
From Lighting & Sound International

Protocol - The Magic of Creating Special Effects (September 2008)
[External Website]
From Protocol

Production History

Toronto: Princess of Wales Theatre
February 4, 2006 (previews begin)
March 23, 2006 (press opening)
September 3, 2006 (final performance)

London: Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
May 9, 2007 (previews begin)
June 19, 2007 (press opening)
July 19, 2008 (final performance)

One of the most expensive productions in West End history, the show had to earn £350,000 per week just to break even.

Watermill Theatre Revival
Announced March 2 2023 (WhatsOnStage Article)
25 July 2023 – 15 October 2023

Scenic Automation (from Silicon Theatre Scenery website)

Silicon Theatre Scenery was responsible for the automation and control, including various winches and additional axes.

Showdeck: 30 tons

The showdeck consists of a 13 metre diameter revolve with 16 hydraulic scissor lifts and a centre lift. The scissor lifts move within the revolve. The complete hydraulic system, including the controller, is integrated into the revolve. This includes:

26 winches of which:
17 counter balanced winches for 400 kg flies;
2 single wire winches for special effects with a speed of 3 m/s;
6 winches for performer flying as part of the STS flight system;
A winch for five canvases that hang in a circle.

33 axes control the following:
21 Kabuki Drops, a release mechanism for canvases;
4 trusses which are driven by an electric toothed belt;
2 props that move in all directions, fold up and are inflatable.

Command and control: STS AutoStage2000 
The control system consists of 44 inverters, 21 hydraulic controls and digital I / O by two IPCs which are controlled via multiple CAN buses. One of these IPCs is integrated into the revolve. Electronic data interchanges between the two IPCs is through slip rings. There is a third IPC, to SIL 3 specification, which controls the air systems.

The operation takes place at three different STS OptiStage2000 desks, Each desk is equipped with six playbacks, a Querty keyboard, emergency stop, DMBs, as well as the standard operating controls. Each desk has two 15 inch touch screens.

The operator has the various playbacks to control the speed of the programmed movements. This is a proven concept and various other productions have shown its usefulness when dealing with complex moves. It allows the operator to speed up the moves and adapt to the actor without stopping the show.

The emergency stop is fully wired and meets safety category 4. On-line the status of each emergency stop is monitored so that the operator can easily see which emergency stop has been pressed.

Reduce your programming time by 80%
Given the complexity of the revolve movements, these are programmed using a 3-D animation test package. These movements are loaded into the new control program Through this new programming interface, we have made tremendous time savings and allowed new opportunities for creative directors.

Lighting Design by Paul Pyant


White Light Press Release:
To supply lighting designer Paul Pyant’s epic rig for this epic show, leading London-based lighting supplier White Light has teamed up with Q1 Production Technologies in Canada, who supplied equipment to the original production. Together they are supplying a rig that includes over three hundred ETC Source Fours and Source Four Pars, seventy conventional Par Cans, Arri 2.5K HMI fresnels and almost one hundred and fifty Wybron scrollers. The moving light rig includes thirteen DHA Digital Light Curtains, thirty-four ETC Source Four Revolutions, thirteen Vari-Lite VL3500Q Framing Spotlights, seventy-seven VL3000Q Spotlights, thirty-four Clay Paky Alpha Wash Halos as well as twenty-four Martin Atomic Strobes and three Wildfire UV units. The show is also using three Robert Juliat Cyrano followspots and two R&V 1K beamlight followspots, and the rig comes complete suitably epic quantity of cabling and rigging. White Light are also supplying the show with a comprehensive smoke and effects system designed by Gregory Meeh.

The entire rig is being controlled using MA Lighting grandMA consoles, with a system incorporating a full-size grandMA main console, a grandMA Light backup console, one tabletPC and two PDAs as remotes and an additional PC running MA Lighting’s grandMA 3D and grandMA onPC software. The effects system even has a dedicated console for programming – an MA UltraLight.

“We are delighted to be involved with The Lord Of The Rings,” comments White Light’s Managing Director, Bryan Raven, “having worked for many years on many projects with the lighting designer Paul Pyant and his associate David Howe – and having heard such good things about the show and, in particular, the lighting from Toronto.”

“We’re also delighted that we’ve been able to work with Q1 on the show here: since they’d already supplied the show once, they had much of the equipment available and already knew about the many ‘specials’ that the show requires. It’s been a great collaboration between Dave Isherwood, Jedd Hamilton and everyone in the White Light Hire team and Marc Raymond and Rob Kennedy at Q1, and the process of getting the equipment here and into the theatre has been pretty seamless. We will now be looking after all of the ongoing support that a show of this scale and complexity always needs.”

Premiered in Toronto, The Lord Of The Rings was produced there and is being produced in London by Kevin Wallace and Saul Zaentz. The show is directed by Matthew Warchus, choreographed by Peter Darling, designed by Rob Howell with lighting by Paul Pyant, sound by Simon Baker, moving images by The Gray Circle and special effects by Gregory Meeh. Working with Pyant on the show are associate lighting designer David Howe, production electrician Gerry Amies and his team, Theatre Royal Chief Electrician Steve McAndrew and his staff, and moving light programmer Jonathan Rouse; the show’s production mangers are Stewart Crosbie and Simon Marlowe.

The Canadian production of the show won seven categories at Canada’s Dora Awards, including Outstanding New Musical, Outstanding Production of a Musical, Outstanding Direction of a Musical, Outstanding Costume Design and Outstanding Lighting Design. The show’s creative team were also honoured with the 2006 Live Design International Award at last year’s LDI Show in Las Vegas.

The London production continues White Light’s long association with the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, stretching back almost twenty years to the opening of the original Miss Saigon, and including the hit musicals The Witches of Eastwick, My Fair Lady, Anything Goes and The Producers. The show joins the many other productions in London using equipment from White Light, including Billy Elliot, Chicago, Dirty Dancing and Evita.

Backstage Tour


  • The Stage Manager told me that there were 99 axes of automation on the show in total, and if the show had run for longer they had plans to automate a lever in the crew room to operate a kettle for the interval refreshments.
  • The substage Victorian machinery had to be completely removed to allow the massive automated revolve and lifts to fit into the theatre. After the show finished its’ run, the machinery had to be reinstated and tested (with English Heritage looking on) before parts of it were removed again for the next production (Oliver!).
  • According to the Stage Manager, in the whole run at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, there was never a completely ‘clean’ show (i.e. no noteworthy errors, problems or mistakes).



Bring on the dancing hobbits – The Guardian (preview) 14 June 2007

Backstage Tour of The Lord of the Rings