White Light Hears the People Sing with Les Misérables


Les Misérables in 1986, shortly after opening at the Palace Theatre.

This is an article about the iconic Les Misérables and White Light’s long-running relationship with the show

This weekend marks the final performance of the iconic Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre in London’s West End. The theatre will close temporarily as it undergoes some much-needed restoration work. It will reopen on 18th December as the Sondheim Theatre with a brand-new production of Les Misérables as it embarks on its 35th world record-breaking year.

It would be fair to say that Les Misérables is one of the most well-known musicals of all time. With productions taking place across the globe, it has won virtually every theatre accolade and has created a host of iconic songs and characters. WL’s relationship with the show goes back over thirty years. The English-language version first opened at the Barbican Arts Centre in October 1985 and only two months later transferred to the Palace Theatre. WL initially didn’t supply the West End run due to the fact that the producer owned the lighting rig. That said, we became involved with the show when it first toured the UK seven years later in 1992, opening at the Palace Theatre, Manchester. We also supplied the second tour in 1997 which opened at the Theatre Royal Plymouth, and have continued to do so ever since, including the latest touring production which features a design by Paule Constable.

Matthew Shephard as Enjolras in the 1997 UK tour.

Following the initial tour, our involvement extended to the West End where we oversaw the upgrade of the Palace’s lighting rig. The rig was updated due to Lighting Designer David Hersey introducing DHA Digital Lighting Curtains and ETC Source Fours to the existing set-up. Our next major involvement in the West End production would come in 2004 when it moved from the Palace Theatre to its current home of the Queen’s. We were asked to supply the entire lighting rig within the Queen’s and our equipment has been used up until this weekend.

Whilst the Queen’s Theatre now closes for refurbishment, the show will certainly go on for Les Misérables itself. There is currently a UK tour travelling up and down the country, which we have supplied and features a lighting design by Paule Constable. Not only that but, next month, Les Misérables: The All-Star Staged Concert will open at the Gielgud. Running until 30th November, this star-studded show features Michael Ball, Alfie Boe, Carrie Hope Fletcher and Matt Lucas in a spectacular and intimate staging of the legendary concert previously seen at the Royal Albert Hall.

Les Misérables: The All-Star Staged Concert opens next month.

As a company, it’s been a privilege to play a small part in the journey of Les Misérables and we are really excited to continue doing so as it enters its latest chapter.