Church of St. Mary Magdalene gets a touch of theatre

St.Mary Magdalene Church

The Church of St. Mary Magdalene, sitting in the middle of Hucknall, is the final resting place of the Poet the 6th Lord Byron. The church attracts many visitors during the day, sitting at the end of the new Nottingham tram line, and is used for concerts and performances as well as the usual Sunday and midweek services. Like so many churches the lighting was very poor with lots of glare from the basic 500W halogen floods and insufficient light at floor level.

Design Innovation was commissioned to design a new lighting scheme to improve energy efficiency, light levels and controllability as well as provision for concerts and mood lighting to suit the different services.

For Lighting Designer, Nick Gale it was an ideal opportunity to bring in both techniques and products from the world of theatre lighting. He explained that “the boundaries between the different lighting sectors are becoming more and more blurred; many fittings used in theatres can easily be adapted for use in large spaces like churches. Church lighting often calls for the controlled projection of light and that’s something we’ve been doing in the theatre for many years”.

“By using long life lamps in theatrical fittings we’ve lit large spaces with minimal glare. Lamp life has also been extended by the use of dimmers with top setting facilities to ensure the lamps are always under run.”

The high roof areas of the Nave, Transepts and Chancel were lit using Selecon Acclaim Fresnels with M40 lamps, these give a very controlled beam of light with minimal spill, allowing the designer to get light where it’s needed. Aureol BeamShapers are used to good effect to frame works of art and monuments, whilst Aureol Fresco Floods up-light the Nave roof. The installation was carried out by Leicestershire based Hawthorn Theatrical Ltd who won the contract under competitive tender. Project management and commissioning was by Design Innovation.

Commenting on the installation Nick Gale said “Everyone at the church has been so enthusiastic about the project and the result of the re-light and redecoration is a transformed interior, I am very pleased with the whole project. Light has such a huge impact on people particularly where beautiful buildings are concerned, nowhere is this more so than in a church; some regular members of the congregation have been touched emotionally by the transformation of the building.”

Design Innovation is a smart home and lighting design practice based in Nottingham.

United Kingdom


Client Church of St. Mary Magdalene
Lighting Designer Nick Gale
Project Management Design Innovation
Selecon Dealer Hawthorn Theatrical Ltd

Products used

110 x Acclaim 6°-60° Fresnel

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