As part of a long term renovation of the Stadttheater Aschaffenburg, a venue that was opened in 1811, a bold choice for LED only lighting was made. Wanting to bring today’s technology into a classic theatre, the challenge was to have silent, energy-efficient fixtures that didn’t stand out or draw attention to themselves in the venue.

The Stadttheater traditionally presents audiences with a wide spectrum of performances throughout the theatrical calendar, so versatility was also a key factor.

The technical director oversaw the creation of a modern and versatile lighting system that is comprised entirely of CHAUVET Professional fixtures, including 26 Maverick MK3 Spots, 28 Maverick MK2 Washes, 56 Ovation E-930VW variable white ellipsoidals, 10 Ovation E-260WW warm white ellipsoidals and 34 Ovation F-915FC Fresnel units. The Ovation fixtures provide fanless, high-quality lighting solutions, while the Maverick moving head units allow for more energetic lighting results.

This versatility needed to be reflected in the fixture selection and was brilliantly evident recently at the theatre’s reopening, which featured a challenging interpretation of Max Frisch’s novel Homo Faber by the ensemble of Theatre Chemnitz.

Thanks to the multi-functionality of the Maverick and Ovation fixtures, lighting designers working at the theatre are able to create a stunning and dramatic mix of visuals for a diverse range of productions. The Ovation E-930VW fixtures’ Variable White LED engine also allows them to be used with any additional halogen lamped fixtures visiting productions may bring, promoting the transition to LED.

The combination of the MK3 Profile and Ovation series provided a solid basis for the creation of a powerful palette of looks. Perhaps the most important factor for a play of this kind, however, is the high CRI of the fixtures. This capability in the CHAUVET Professional fixtures, along with the incredibly talented director, cast and scenic designers from Theater Chemnitz all contributed to a powerful production that moved the audience.

A main obstacle was the architecture of the Stadttheater Aschaffenburg. With a history dating back to the year 1811, the classicist auditorium is built in Empire style and is widely considered as one of the most impressive auditoriums in Southern Germany. With the renovation of the technical installation, it was absolute essential to be careful and respect the architecture. CHAUVET Professional managed to deliver more then 30 of its fixtures in a custom coloured grey-white finish, in order to blend the modern lighting fixtures seamlessly into the theatre’s design.

With Germany’s theatre scene heavily steeped in tradition – both from the acting and technical perspective, LED fixtures are still met with a certain degree of scepticism within the community. Thanks to a number of benefits associated with reduced power consumption and minimal heat generation, however, the technical director was able to convince the board of theatre directors that an LED installation could harbour a number of benefits over traditional energy-sapping tungsten par cans.

Another significant advantage of the new installation is the added versatility and flexibility of having moving heads and ellipsoidal style fixtures working side by side. In addition to the gobo and split beam effects of the moving head fixtures, the full colour F-915FC fixtures allow technicians to change colours on the fly – a development nothing short of revolutionary in the eyes of the theatre’s long-standing technicians. Andreas Dinter, lighting director of Stadttheater Aschaffenburg, stated: “Whereas previously we had to manually change colours using old-fashioned colour gels several times during the year for re-runs of performances; now we’re able to save and recall colour settings very easily on a show by show basis.”

This installation project is a very unique combination of German theatrical tradition, with its powerful playwrights like Bertold Brecht and Heiner Müller, and the advantages of modern LED technology, both supporting and acting together in absolute harmony.