Sydney Opera House – Concert Hall High Level Performance Lighting Upgrade

Once again, Ryan Wilks Pty Ltd were able to demonstrate their experience and knowledge in delivering a highly successful and aesthetically pleasing project to the Sydney Opera House.

A new ambience has been created within the Concert hall due to the updated LED lighting fixtures which together with un-obtrusive glare and subtle balance provide an enhanced visual experience. By administering DMX functionality and ELV data wiring to the new Lumascape LED models, it provided huge capabilities to have complete control over the lighting system, providing unique identities to each individually addressable fitting.

Given the nature of this live preforming arts venue; the project requirements of minimal disruption to the existing and new lighting installations were paramount. Ryan Wilks’ highly skilled and organised work force executed a seamless transition of the 153 LED Luminaire replacements with absolutely no downtime to the existing system. Open communication with all stakeholders and daily co-coordination with building management ensured successful delivery of this project.

As with all performing art facilities, extra care is required to ensure lighting and all other performance equipment is left undisturbed for the duration of the works. This together with the construction activities being completed out-of-normal working hours within a restricted ceiling space, made this project a physically difficult venture to complete.

The end product was a dynamic new lighting system which was more energy efficient and had the ability to seamlessly dim and colour change via DMX drivers.


The Project light fittings where free-issued to Ryan Wilks Pty Ltd from State Automation whilst the design, procurement and installation of the lighting reticulation, 240v, DMX and ELV control cabling, containment and fixings was completed by Ryan Wilks.

Project Features and Challenges:

  • Coordination with existing Services and Infrastructure within confined and high ceiling spaces;
  • Day to day communication with the Sydney Opera House to ensure zero disruption to the theatre and tourist operations
  • Co-ordination and interface with the electrical services and existing lighting control systems.
  • Installation of screwed steel conduit through non-traditional building environments.
  • By pre-installing Cat5e data cabling from new node stations to fixtures, steel conduits and temporary power supplies for seamless transition of the old to the new.
  • By installing new supports from above the ceiling space and fine tweaking individual fitting mountings to suit their unique and slightly different housing, the new LED fixtures were methodically and individually installed and focused to meet this final visual requirement.
  • Ryan Wilks Pty Ltd astute project planning and in-depth site investigations at the commencement of the project ensured that we utilised, where possible, existing containment and wiring installations. In turn this exercise also reduced the amount of waste and transportation of materials whilst keeping project costs to a minimum.
  • Temporary electrical cabling was connected to enable all new light fittings to be functionally tested and commissioned prior to installation.
  • Ryan Wilks Pty Ltd also assisted with the design and cutover strategies to best suit the Concert Hall’s busy schedule and the requirements of the lighting engineers.

By systematically re-wiring and replacing 153 fittings across the Crown and high level areas of the concert hall and integrating them into the existing Opera house methods of control including house Cbus and LX control room operation meant complete versatile management of the new lights. The upgrade of the performance lights provided the Opera house with massive reductions in energy consumption and man hours for ongoing maintenance. Some of the existing 575w Source4 PAR performance hall fittings had a life expectancy of 500 hours and were subject to damage in non dim mode due to high inrush currents to the lamp when rising from 0 – 100% in a short period of time. By installing state of the art Lumascape LED fittings and DMX control functions it meant increased longevity of fittings and the reduction in maintenance expenditure was remarkable.

The newly installed lighting fixtures provide the capability to change and dim through various spectrums of colour, enhancing the overall experience and individuality of the production on show.


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