Leeds Playhouse, formerly West Yorkshire Playhouse, was established 1970. Built on Quarry Hill (the site of the most notorious slums in 19th Century Western Europe and later the infamous Quarry Hill flats which replaced them) the current theatre officially opened its door in March 1990 and was Britain’s largest new purpose built theatre for 15 years.
Robin Hawkes, Executive Director, Leeds Playhouse, said:
“We’re now able to use a number of our smaller sites to communicate with audiences on a day to day basis and we have begun exploring how we can use the sites creatively to respond to the work on our stages. We have only scratched the surface of the possibility of what the digital signage project has allowed us to do. As a fellow Leeds business, UXG understood our heritage and how this shaped our vision for the future. The new digital strategy has perfectly encapsulated our aspirations to be a leading cultural destination in the North.”
The original theatre had become tired and was showing its age, so with this and the directors’ aspirations, funding was received to completely redevelop the site. As part of this total redevelopment, Leeds Playhouse wanted to implement a digital signage network with new technologies to fully modernise and create a more memorable and visually engaging customer experience. This signage solution needed to be accessible anytime anywhere. Previously their objectives were simply met by printed posters on displays around the Playhouse. This was a pain point as it was a costly change exercise that was reactive in its nature.
The project delivery included implementing a large-format 6 x 3m outdoor LED Display (Digital 48 sheet). Internally there is a feature LED display in the entrance running up three floors alongside a mixture of freestanding and wall-mounted external high bright advertising and wayfinding displays.
Working with a range of over 33 Android-powered, System-on Chip digital displays from Philips Professional Display Solutions, the team from UXG integrated signage into all open common areas, enabling well-branded promotions and information in the entrance and foyer as well as throughout the communal spaces within the Playhouse. All Internal screens were neatly finished off with bespoke black surrounds.
Digital menu boards were installed in the café, restaurant, and bar, as well as wayfinding and information displays in the back of house and operational areas.
On the Quarry hill side of the building, a newly designed walkway incorporates two large totems with double sided Dynascan high bright displays, along with five wall mounted Dynascan high bright displays in Leeds Playhouse square using BrightSign players and Signagelive. All totems were manufactured in-house to bespoke requirements.
Philips Professional Display Solutions’ new MediaSuite professional TVs were also installed into the hospitality suites. Google-certified and with Chromecast-built in these are the perfect solution for these shared meeting areas.
UXG created a full digital display integration that would take Leeds Playhouse comfortably into the future, working aesthetically with the regenerated surroundings, while also bringing new and exciting opportunities for customer engagement and increased footfall.
An eye-catching 6000mm x 3000mm external LED digital screen displaying directly onto the busy St Peter’s street allows Leeds Playhouse to advertise upcoming performances at the ever popular Leeds city centre location. There is also an internal LED 1,500mm x 5,000mm screen in the cafeteria area, which is one of the main congregating points within the building. This large display is also seen from the people walking by the outside of the property.
The new digital displays and integrated software platform were implemented over an extended three-month that required additional support from UXG. This was an extended period of time due to a number of issues at site that resulted in difficulties that needed to be fully rectified prior to allowing the technology to be installed. UXG had to work very closely in supporting the main contractor to ensure success.
The business can now market events to the public on the large external LED, altering promotions quickly and efficiently, along with the external totems so that information can be displayed 24/7. The large internal LED gives the Playhouse the ability to offer a wow factor display advertising upcoming shows, sponsors and other advertising. This has also allowed Leeds Playhouse an opportunity to effectively champion positive messages, displayed across Leeds during the coronavirus pandemic. The Philips screens within the cafe area can advertise, change pricing and update offers instantly or at set times. Additionally, start times of performances can be displayed on designated screens and importantly ensure that notification is given for audience members to take their seats ready for the performance. The hospitality screens can easily be used for conferencing and the input can easily be changed to display live shows for staff members.
The large outdoor LED replaced numerous paper-based banners that were discarded after use, so this meant that every new production required new banners with a fair amount of waste. Replacing these banners with digital signage has yielded an estimated saving of £21k per annum with no waste. These striking displays are integrated sympathetically into surrounding areas bringing powerful real-time messaging and promotions.
Easy content updates via the custom-built app allows Leeds Playhouse to quickly customise and update content in-house to showcase real-time adverts and information. Utilising the Signagelive Content Management System, staff are able to future plan the marketing events and are able to schedule content in advance. Philips MediaSuite pro TVs bring easy sharing and presenting functionality to hospitality suites, with Chromecast built-in and access to the Google Play Store.
The external LED and Totem displays have allowed Leeds Playhouse to reach a greater audience in a cost and energy efficient way 24/7.