Theatres Case Study | Aggreko UK

Aggreko temporary power lets the show go on for The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane


In April 2015 a major fire at Holborn Underground Station led to powercuts and an unstable electricity network across London’s West End. 

The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane needed emergency power within hours, to ensure their Easter weekend performances did not have to be cancelled. 

This power was needed - uninterrupted - throughout the busy Easter period until the mains supply could be restored.

Due to automated stage equipment being used during each performance, a solution was needed that could absorb the power surges and prevent intermittent blackouts.

Aggreko's solution

Aggreko restored full power to the Theatre Royal one day after the power blackout - in just six hours.

With tight timescales, Aggreko's engineers surveyed the theatre's power requirements at 1.00pm. A temporary power solution was designed, which involved linking generators together to absorb the regenerative power surges produced by the automated stage equipment that are normally fed back to the mains supply. This avoided the need to use loadbanks.

Aggreko deployed generators from its nearby Sutton depot and utilised its emergency response expertise to manage the complex logistics of generator deliveries amid widespread road closures.

The engineers worked with the theatre's electrical team to install two 500 kVA and three 320 kVA generators by 6.45pm that same day.

Following the emergency call-out Really Useful Theatres has since agreed a Contingency Planning contract with Aggreko for its six UK theatres. This involved a site survey of each theatre's power and temperature control needs, so a detailed emergency recovery and continuity plan could be produced.

In the event of future fire, power failure, flood, or other emergency, Really Useful Theatres has assurance that they will be able to recover normal operations with minimal disruption and downtime. 

Why was Aggreko chosen?

Aggreko was chosen due to its reputation as a world-class emergency power provider. Aggreko has a track record in finding fast and effective solutions to power problems and mobilising fleet within hours of order.

Our expert engineers were able to design a complex power package quickly and under pressure, when the theatre needed it most.  Reliable 24/7 support was provided to ensure continuous power and uninterrupted performances.

Aggreko’s service was excellent throughout. We are a large 2,200-seat theatre with complex power demands and within the space of six hours they had the generators running. This meant that we could go ahead with all our Easter performances, with complete assurance that there would be no technical problems from interrupted power. Aggreko’s engineers continued to remotely monitor the generators to make sure they were running effectively and navigated multiple emergency road closures to provide a twice-daily refuelling service.

Julian Rees, Operations Director, Really Useful Theatres

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