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White Light Donates Its Services to Almeida Theatre Fundraiser

"A Feast with the Gods" Fundraiser for Almeida Theatre. Photo: David Jensen

Since it first opened in 1980, the Almeida Theatre has gone on to become one of the most renowned theatres in all of London. Its productions have won various awards and often receive West End and Broadway transfers, such as Mike Bartlett's recent smash-hit King Charles III which will open on Broadway this fall. As the theatre is a charity, it actively seeks ways in which it can fundraise the £1.5m required (one third of its total income) to deliver its programming each year. Among various other initiatives, the Almeida Theatre holds a regular fundraising gala which has played a key role in its fundraising strategy for more than ten years. This year was no exception and White Light was asked to provide the lighting equipment as a show of its support for such an important occasion.

This year's gala took place on June 11 and was entitled "A Feast with the Gods." It was held at the opulent private home Bridgewater House in St James, London. Sally Noonan, development director at the Almeida Theatre, comments: "Although the purpose of the evening was to raise vital funds for the theatre, we wanted it to reflect the spirit of the Almeida and be as playful as possible. It was themed around our Almeida Greeks season and began with a Greek chorus and drummers in the garden of Bridgewater House." Prior to the dinner in the Great Saloon, guests were treated to an array of spectacles, which included two Medusas draped in snakes as well as performances from dancers painted entirely in gold. Over dinner there were performances of specially commissioned pieces by renowned playwrights such as Simon Stephens and Richard Thomas.

In order to help create the feel required, the Almeida Theatre called upon White Light who was more than happy to lend its services. Craig Bennett, White Light's hire business development manager, states: "We were asked to provide the lighting equipment for this important event and were obviously delighted to oblige. Not only is the Almeida such an important London theatre with the ground-breaking work it commissions but it also has a very strong and important community program." Due to the historic location of the gala, this meant that it was White Light's role to get the most out of its heritage features. Noonan adds: "As the event took place in such a beautiful location, we required the services of a lighting company who could really highlight the unique surroundings -- hence we approached White Light."

A high-profile event, the special guests in attendance included Andrew Scott, Billie Piper, Lindsay Duncan, Polly Stenham, and Zoe Wanamaker. To raise funds for the theatre, guests vied for auction items such as a walk on part in King Charles III's upcoming Broadway run as well as the chance to visit the set and meet the cast of Poldark. White Light has worked with the Almeida Theatre on several occasions now and supplied the lighting for King Charles III's recent run at the Wyndham's Theatre in the West End. Bennett comments: "It's great to be able to support a theatre in a variety of ways. Although we have a working relationship together, it's important, especially within the theatre community, to show our support wherever we can -- something we tried to do with this event."

This past year has seen an influx in charity events which White Light has supported. In the past two months alone, the complete production solution specialist has worked with the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Children's Fund, Macmillan Cancer Support, and The Make A Difference Trust. Bryan Raven, White Light's managing director, states: "As the company's equipment and expertise constantly expands, this also means that the services we can provide grow with it. There is nothing more satisfying for us than to work on events where we can display what we offer as a company while also contributing to a worthy cause -- such as the Almeida fundraising gala." The event will go some way in helping the Almeida Theatre continue with its successful programming of work as well as help it fulfil its outreach goals. Noonan adds: "We are extremely grateful for White Light lending their support."


(10 August 2015)

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