Harold Pinter Theatre


One of London’s best-preserved Victoria theatres, the Harold Pinter Theatre in Westminster, is now protected by a cutting-edge fire system, including more than 100 wireless devices from Apollo’s REACH range.

Known as the Comedy Theatre until 2011, the Pinter was built in 1881 designed by Thomas Verity and, despite changes elsewhere in the building, its 796-seater three-level horseshoe auditorium is remarkably well-preserved. The building was listed by English Heritage in 1972 and is firmly established as one of the most atmospheric, if not the grandest, of London’s West End theatres.

The Challenge

Barlows (UK) Ltd were awarded the contract with a brief to bring the fire system up to the latest standards. Whilst minimising the impact of the works on the operation and fabric of the historic building, further project challenges included:

  • A complex system comprising 110 wireless fire devices
  • Full compliance with listed building regulations such as avoiding disrupting the fabric of the building by breaking walls or adding trunking
  • The requirement to work around the day-to-day operation of the theatre

The Solution

The REACH range comes with a bespoke survey kit, making it simple to design a system that covers all key areas within the building, and the 100-metre range made it possible to cover the entire space with a small number of hubs. The wireless solution not only reduced the time Barlow's team spent on site and impacted the fabric of the building, but it also meant that the old system could remain operational until the new one was commissioned.

REACH is designed to solve challenging installation scenarios for structures with restricted or complex access and installation conditions – such as listed buildings – where wired installation is not desirable. With a battery life of up to five years, enhanced RF communications capability, compact casings and a full range of wireless devices, REACH can work as a standalone wireless system or as part of a hybrid system, with wired and wireless devices.


Balancing the preservation of a listed building with the challenges of installing a modern fire system has always been a balancing act, although wireless fire devices have been a major game-changer. It was also essential that the AV devices had a silent mode function so the ushers could be alerted without disturbing a performance. Working with the theatre management and Apollo, we specified and installed a system with 110 wireless devices connected to four hubs.

Richard Cooper Install and Commissioning Engineer at Barlows (UK) Ltd

Products used in this Case Study

The RW1000-700APO is a wireless addressable dual-optical and heat detection multisensor detector, offering both technologies for improved performance and high levels of false-alarm rejection.