Sadler’s Wells is a world-leading dance house, presenting an exciting programme of dance of every kind: from tango to hip hop, flamenco, contemporary dance and many more. Located in Islington, north London, Sadler’s Wells has been presenting theatrical productions on that site since 1683 and today welcomes over half a million people each year. The theatre building in Rosebery Avenue features two performance spaces: the main auditorium, seating 1500, and the smaller Lilian Baylis Studio.
Over the 300 years of occupying the site, the theatre has undergone several alterations and was largely rebuilt in 1998. Following 15 years or year-round operation, by 2014 the building was in need of essential repairs, including a programme of technical, lighting, plant and systems’ replacement, to increase its resilience and improve the overall visitor experience. As part of this project, Sadler’s Wells recognised the need to update its existing digital signage solution.
Something Sadler’s Wells was keen to avoid was to have digital signage players fixed to the back of every screen, with visible power supplies and network cables; hardware that makes for a very untidy and unsightly installation.
Ray Ho, IT Systems Administrator at Sadler’s Wells, said: “Digital signage has been an important part of the theatre for a number of years, However, as time went by our solution did not age well from both an image quality and hardware perspective. One of our major issues was that it wasn’t compatible with the new breed of smart TVs now in the market.”
“We looked at a number of solutions and felt that the Tripleplay system was the one providing the highest quality in terms of picture, the tidiest in terms of implementation, most flexible to help us develop in the future and positioned at a good price point. We believe that our decision has been justified by the end product,” added Ray.
Matt Kirby, Head of IT, stated: “We felt we needed a way to ensure the brand was represented consistently around site, in a high quality fashion that was simple for IT, and our marketing team, to manipulate and operate.”
The dance theatre also has a venue in the West End, The Peacock. The signage system allows the marketing team to promote events for both sites and to add value for corporate clients or sponsors when they use the venue – this is “something other venues often cannot do” explained Kirby, “yet here, clients can turn up with their content on a USB stick and we can have it displayed on every screen in the venue in minutes if we wish.”
Sadler’s Wells now has over 60 screens in place throughout the building: in the main foyer, ticket office, café, security and reception desk, in dressing rooms and backstage areas. Digital signage channels are used to promote a variety of upcoming shows and events as well as streaming live performances from either of the two stages. The streams can be viewed on any screen, which allows performers to watch live as well as ensuring that patrons arriving late do not miss the show.
Ray Ho added: “The visual impact of the system is fantastic, it draws the eye of our customers and holds their attention, making it a key part of the marketing mix, reiterating messages and confirming the brand identity”, a key component of any successful digital signage story.
When considering the future of digital signage at the theatre, Matt Kirby has ideas of how to improve the customer experience further: “We can see there is a future in the Tripleplay platform; the fact it is software based means that we can benefit from all future product developments and feature additions. As the hardware is standards based, we can add to the system as we need to.”
In the future Sadler’s Wells plan on adding digital menu boards to bar areas, with full Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) integration and the addition of live broadcast TV for dressing rooms, further enhancing visitor experience.
Kirby concluded: “Tripleplay has provided everything we needed, the system is really impressive and does a lot for us as well as being easy to manage content, keeping it relevant and current. We look forward to working with Tripleplay in the future.”
Sadler’s Wells solution was implemented by Tripleplay through authorised AV integrator partner, Reflex Limited.