The theatre lighting is controlled by an ETC Gio @5, capable of running any show that comes into the venue, and can handle static and intelligent (moving) luminaries and LED fixtures with ease.

For other events in the upstairs room, we have an ETC Ion, which is also available for use by schools and other outside events.

The desk powers a mixture of dimmers, comprising one 24-channel Strand Permus, eleven 12-channel ETC Smart Racks and four Zero 88 Betapacks (portable 6-way units). A number of small 4-way portable dimmer packs are available for feeding specials and other channels as needed.

There is a DMX network fed via the control room which allows any of the three DMX universe feeds from the desk to be fed around the theatre.

The standard lantern rig comprises mainly Strand and ETC equipment. Our Robert Juliat Marius follow spots were chosen for their ease of use and power to cut through even the brightest stage lighting rig.

Since 2010, the Abbey has invested regularly in LED lighting technology to compliment the standard rig, which not only allows a far more versatile colour wash coverage but also has a significant energy saving impact

Where larger more lavish performances require a more sophisticated lighting set up, we have a number of options for the hiring in of a variety of intelligent fixtures such as moving head/moving mirror luminaries, star cloths and the like. Please ask for details and pricing.

UV can be provided by one 400w UV cannon, two LED UV Lanterns and/or up to four 4ft fluorescent fittings. We have 5 strobe units, controllable from the booth via either DMX or analogue controllers.

Whenever required, the first floor Etone Lounge may be used as a studio venue, for which there is a portable section of lighting control suited to the size of room and the technical needs of such events. Control here can be effected using our smaller DMX desk, a Strand 200, and the smaller Prelude/Parnel range of lanterns, and operators can easily produce very satisfactory results.

Lighting Demonstration Videos

These video clips show what can be achieved when using additional moving lights to complement our standard rig. These lights can be hired in on your behalf (quotes available on request) but bear in mind that extra time MUST be allowed for pre-rigging and programming of these, and time spent doing so can be chargeable to the user group.

Video editing using effects loops or other VT content can also be prepared for you but again may incur additional charges.

  • Guidance

  • Standard Rig

  • Extra Stock Available

  • Downloads

Lighting for a stage show is perhaps the most involved of the stage disciplines, involving as it does a large number of fixtures which allow the lighting designer (LD) or operator to achieve their aims. There is, potentially, a higher risk in general for the rigging of the stage lighting by definition, as the majority of the equipment is hung from the ceiling grid, and most of the fixtures carry 230v AC. Because of this, the lighting designer/rigger must be able to satisfy much more than just basic safety skills.

An all-round lighting designer/rigger/operator should:

  • Be able to work safely at heights, from extension ladders, A-frame ladders and scaffold tower.
  • Be conversant with the correct hanging methods permissible for lanterns.
  • Be able to quickly and accurately calculate proper loading of the dimmer circuits used in the theatre.
  • Have competency in the use and respect for single and three-phase electrical supplies.
  • Know how to use the various types of theatrical lantern in the house stock with respect to colour, position and focus.
  • Have a working knowledge of the basic operation of the lighting control desk (ETC Ion)
  • Where appropriate be able to specify and arrange the hire from external sources of additional lighting instruments.
  • Should lanterns blow a lamp, be able to safely and properly change the lamp from theatre stores (available on request to theatre staff).

There will be occasions where lighting design CAN be carried out using the house standard rig, in which case much of the above may not be relevant. However, it is recommended that anyone wishing to work regularly on the lighting side of the theatre learns to carry out many if not all of the above responsibilities.

What the Lighting Designer will need from you, the hirer

To have a fair chance of preparing an appropriate lighting plot, the LD will need the following:

  • A full list of the musical numbers/sketches for a variety/dance type show.
  • A full script for any scripted play/show.
  • An idea of the type and colour of costumes being worn at each given stage of the performance.
  • A full set of stage plans if appropriate. (These may come via the SM).
  • Any areas that you will likely wish to have highlighted.
  • Any specific preferences for lighting styles or colour schemes.
  • Whether you will be wanting to use follow spots.
  • Do you wish to use any of the theatre moving lights and/or bring in moving lighting/specials from an outside supplier?
  • For musical/variety/dance shows, a copy of the music being used is often very helpful, including any modifications to said music.

The Abbey Theatre rig comprises a mix of traditional tungsten and new LED technology.


We have three internally wired bars (IWBs) over stage and 3 main IWBs front of house (FoH). In addition, on stage there are 6 dimmer circuits at grid height either side of the rear of the prosc arch, 12 at grid height in the upstage right corner, floor dips under stage and behind the prosc as well as at the base of the fly tower. Front of house extras include 2 off 6-circuit drop bars either side of the house, plus hard-patchable circuits to the rear of the auditorium.


Universe 1 controls all dimmer circuits and most of the standard rig LED kit.

Universe 2 has feeds out to a variety of points about the stage and FoH areas to allow for connection of remote controlled equipment with ease.

Universe 3 was added in 2016 and can be set up to address additional hired-in lighting equipment if necessary

Hard Power:

Switched hard power (non-dimmed) is available throughout the theatre for use with any equipment that cannot be connected to dimmer outlets.

Stage – overheads – Bar 1 & 2:

10 lanterns, mix of Strand Patt 223 and ETC Parnel with the following colour washes as standard:
Steel – Lee #
Straw – Lee #
Amber – Gel #
Pink – Gel #
Blue – Gel #
Also 3 x Strand Quartet fresnel giving open white wash to mid-stage area.

Stage – overheads – Intermediate Bars:

Two bars over stage – one upstage of Bar 1, the second upstage of Bar 2. Each with 5 x Stagg KingPar LED lanterns giving variable colour wash as top-light.

Stage – side lights:

4 x vertical drop bars, 2 each side, each with 3 x Chauvet Colorado Tri Tour LED spot.

FoH – overheads – Bar 1:

5 x Strand SL 15/32 zoom profiles for front stage specials
Also 3 x Strand Prelude F fresnel giving open white wash to down-stage area.

FoH – overheads – Bar 2:
15 x ETC Source 4 26 degree profile spot with the following colour washes as standard:
Steel – Lee #
Straw – Lee #
Amber – Gel #
Pink – Gel #
Blue – Gel #

FoH – overheads – Bar 3:

4 x Strand Prelude 16/30 profile spot for specials
Also 1 x ETC Source 4 19 degree profile with house gobo.

FoH – side lights:

4 x vertical drop bars wall mounted at ends of bars 1 & 2.
Drop bars 1 each equipped with 2 x Chauvet Colorado Tri Tour LED spot
Drop bars 2 each equipped with 2 x Strand Quartet fresnel with steel/straw face light.
Drop bars 1 also equipped with 1 x LED UV floods (DMX)



Additional Lanterns:

The venue has a stock of ETC Source 4 and Strand Prelude profile spots, plus Prelude fresnels. In addition there are approximately 20 ETC Source 4 Par (or equivalents) plus a similar quantity of long and short nosed Par 64 spots, and 4 small 500W theatre floods (Coda and similar).

Please enquire if further details needed.

Plans and User Manuals

Below you will find various Lighting Plans, Circuit Sheets and User Manuals to assist you with the lighting fixtures and control at the Abbey.

Dimmer & Hard Power Layout

2018 Lighting Circuit Sheet

Abbey Theatre Standard Patch Show File