STLS Supplies Lighting For The Little Mermaid

In a dazzling display of aquatic colors and shimmering lights, the classic tale of ‘The Little Mermaid’ unfolded before the eyes of the entranced audience at Epsom Playhouse, courtesy of Sutton Theatre Company. But behind the enchanting undersea world and the captivating performance of the actors was a symphony of lights, orchestrated by STLS Lighting and the imaginative lighting designer, Richard Pike.

A Dive into the Deep Blue

With a story set predominantly beneath the waves, bringing the undulating ocean and its colorful inhabitants to life posed a unique challenge for Pike and STLS. The lighting had to not only illuminate the actors and set but also create a dynamic, watery world that could transport the audience beneath the surface and into Ariel’s world.

Harnessing the Power of Ayrton Mistrals and Martin Aura XB

STLS supplied an array of lighting fixtures to enhance the visual spectacle of the underwater and above-water scenes, with two major workhorses at the helm: Ayrton Mistrals and Martin Aura XBs.

Ayrton Mistrals: Renowned for their precision and versatility, these fixtures were pivotal in sculpting the visuals of the underwater kingdom. Mistrals’ ability to deliver a range of effects – from sharp beams to wide washes – helped in crafting the shifting, ethereal glow of the ocean, enveloping the characters in a soft, aquatic light that mimicked the gentle ebb and flow of the sea.

Martin Aura XBs: These lights, known for their intense output and stunning color mixing capabilities, were instrumental in depicting the vibrant, bubbling life of the ocean. Whether illustrating the dark, ominous depths where Ursula plotted or the radiant, shimmering surface where Ariel longed to be, the Aura XBs, with their potent beams and rich palette, could articulate these contrasting environments flawlessly.

Crafting the Atmosphere with Richard Pike

Richard Pike’s design philosophy seamlessly integrated with the robust capabilities of the lighting fixtures. Utilizing the nuanced control of the Ayrton Mistrals, he crafted subtle, pulsating light effects that emulated sunlight filtering through the ocean surface, bathing the underwater scenes in a surreal, dreamy glow. Meanwhile, the Martin Aura XBs created striking contrasts and bold color statements, enhancing dramatic moments and punctuating key narrative beats.

Pike expertly navigated the fine line between reality and fantasy, ensuring the lighting not only supported the storytelling but became a character in itself, fluctuating between the soft, romantic world of Ariel and the harsh, menacing domain of Ursula.

Synchronization with Performance and Set Design

STLS and Pike worked in harmonious tandem with the set designers and performers, ensuring that the lighting complemented the physical spaces and narrative arcs. The play between light and shadow, color, and darkness became a dance, harmonizing with the choreography and music to enhance the emotional resonance and visual spectacle of the performance.

When Ariel sang of her yearning to be part of the human world, the lighting transitioned from the gentle caress of the ocean blues to the vibrant, hopeful glows of the surface. During Ursula’s devious plots, shadows and stark, angular lighting accentuated the villainy and threat, creating a visual tension that heightened the drama unfolding on stage.


‘The Little Mermaid’ performance by Sutton Theatre Company was not merely a musical show but a visually stunning underwater odyssey, thanks to the insightful lighting design and advanced lighting technologies supplied by STLS. The lights provided were not mere instruments but were wielded as paintbrushes, crafting a world that captivated, enchanted, and transported the audience to the depths of a beautifully illuminated ocean. This was a masterclass in how technological prowess, when melded with creative genius like Richard Pike’s, can create a spectacle that leaves an audience spellbound from the opening curtain to the standing ovation.