Nick Hytner and Nick Starr’s London Theatre Company, the managers of the Bridge Theatre in South London, are opening a new creative space in King’s Cross, London.
In conjunction with London and New York based design studio and production company 59 Productions, Lightroom is a new four-storey-high space in Kings Cross equipped with the latest digital projection and audio technology, and part of the multi-billion pound King’s Cross regeneration project.
The new venue was originally announced as a new theatre, to be a sister venue of the Bridge Theatre, with a 600 seat auditorium based on the modular system used at the Bridge.
However, plans for the theatre have now been put back by four years, with the building becoming the Lightroom until late 2026.
Much of the fit-out that was designed for the theatre is being implemented for Lightroom, including the foyer, café/bar – which is run by St John, and staff accommodation, as well as the electrical and air-handling installations.
Located on Lewis Cubitt Square near Coal Drops Yard and Central St Martin’s, the building was designed by Haworth Tompkins, who also designed the Bridge Theatre, Young Vic, and regeneration of the Royal Court theatre.
The venue is backed by investors including Sir Leonard Blavatnik and his Access Entertainment company, recent new owners of the Theatre Royal Haymarket, run by former BBC exec Danny Cohen; and former Goldman Sachs co-CEO Michael Sherwood.
Lightroom’s CEO is Richard Slaney, who was formerly of 59 Productions, and the executive chair is London Theatre Company’s Nick Starr.
The first event to be staged at Lightroom is a major new show from David Hockney called “David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (not smaller & further away)”.
Opening on 25 January 2023, the show will see Hockney take the audience on a personal journey through his art, featuring iconic paintings alongside some rarely seen pieces and some newly created work. His life-long fascination with the possibilities of new media will be given vibrant expression in a show that invites visitors to see the world through his eyes.
In a cycle of six themed chapters, with a specially composed score by Nico Muhly and a commentary by the artist himself, Hockney reveals his artistic process. His voice will be in the ears of visitors as they watch him experimenting with perspective, using photography as a way of ‘drawing with a camera’, capturing the passing of time in his polaroid collages and the joy of spring on his iPad, and revealing why only paint can properly convey the hugeness of the Grand Canyon.
The exhibition also allows visitors to join him on his audio-visual journey “Wagner Drive”, roaring up into the San Gabriel Mountains, and into the opera house by means of animated re-creations of his stage designs.
The show is the result of three years’ collaboration between David Hockney and the creators of Lightroom. It will be the first in a repertoire of original shows, made with leading artists and innovators, aspiring to be visually astonishing, alive with sound and rich in new perspectives.
The show’s director, Mark Grimmer of 59 Productions, said: “We have worked with David to bring together large-scale projected images, animation, archival and bespoke interviews and a commissioned score to create a new kind of show which owes as much to Hockney’s theatrical design as to his painting, drawing and photography. It’s been thrilling to work with David over the last three years and we hope the show will introduce a whole new audience to his art.”
Nicholas Hytner, executive producer said: “What’s so exciting about this show is how authentically Hockney it is. Listening to his voice in this astonishing new space while seeing his artworks unfurl around the four walls is going to be both an experience and an education. It suggests how potent this medium will be for the other creators and artists with whom we will make new and original Lightroom shows in the years to come.”
Danny Cohen, Access Entertainment said: “Lightroom is a new home for the world’s great artistic innovators. It’s an opportunity for them to think and create in new and spatially ambitious ways using the latest digital technology. David Hockney’s new show will delight and amaze audiences – we can’t wait to open the doors to Lightroom in January 2023.”
Richard Slaney, Lightroom’s CEO said: “We’re inviting the world’s leading creative minds to collaborate with us to use Lightroom’s epic scale, cutting-edge projection and revolutionary sound technology to create something completely new.”
The Bridge Theatre is currently playing John Gabriel Borkman starring Simon Russell-Beale until 26 November 2022. In March 2023, Nicholas Hytner will direct a new production of classic musical Guys and Dolls, in an in-the-round 360° format.