The theatre overlooks the serene Hulopo'e Bay
USA - In a harmonious blend of cultural reverence, sustainability and modern entertainment, the Lāna‘i Ocean Theatre has emerged as a spectacular amphitheatre on the southeast coast of Lāna‘i, the sixth-largest island in the Hawaiian Archipelago.
This visionary project stands proudly within the lush grounds of the Four Seasons Resort Lāna‘i, overlooking the serene Hulopo'e Bay, and employs IP-rated Proteus Lucius and Arena Zoom Q7IP luminaires from Elation.
An entertainment space that organically conforms to its natural surroundings, the Lāna‘i Ocean Theatre is a Greek-style amphitheatre that pays homage to the historical roots of theatre. The project, initiated in September 2021, transforms a section of the hillside overlooking the bay, creating a venue that seamlessly integrates with the natural landscape and botanical garden setting.
Land and resource management company Pulama Lāna‘i partnered with visual design practice Lightswitch and event production company Upstaging to create a space that not only meets the highest standards but also respects the island's natural environment. Lighting design was spearheaded by John Featherstone, principal at Lightswitch, with Ryan Breneisen of Upstaging serving as a project manager and technical director. Upstaging supplied the lighting for the project and executed the installation.
Breneisen worked with Rob Ludwig from Elation rep firm Five Lakes Marketing to source the Proteus Lucius LED profile luminaire and following a shoot-out with similar moving head fixtures, says the Lucius checked a lot of the right boxes.
The venue utilises IP-rated Proteus Lucius and Arena Zoom Q7IP luminaires as central lighting fixtures in an adaptable festival-style system for the multi-use venue space. The Lucius are positioned on 30-ft tall custom torm towers that carry the Lucius inside, six fixtures per tower. Two additional towers with Lucius are positioned at FoH with more Lucius fixtures working from floor positions.
“The truss is really designed around that specific light with square box tubes so the lights can’t roll when the towers move in and out,” Breneisen explains, noting that the entire space can be transformed into a deck as a viewing and garden area with seats. “I’ve used Proteus outside for months at a time in an Illinois winter so I know it’s a good line and is going to survive outside.”
Lightswitch and Upstaging embraced the project’s adherence to ecological principles, even working with ornithologists who influenced the stage design by deeming a vertical tower design to be less intrusive to migratory birds than a horizontal design. According to Featherstone, the commitment to environmental responsibility extended to fixture choice as well. “Another way we can minimise the footprint is by using a fixture like the Lucius that has a gentler footprint in terms of the power it uses, and because they are IP-rated, they help to minimise the amount of disruption we have on site. There is a whole package there which translates to less service, less waste, less power, and it's still a great fixture.”
Featherstone highlighted the brightness of the 33,500-lumen Lucius as a valuable feature, stating: “The fact that the Lucius is so bright is useful in that it will enable us to move the fixtures much further away from the stage if need be.”
In December 2022, Hawaiian singer-songwriter John Cruz inaugurated the venue with a pair of shows with subsequent performances from Kenny Loggins and Jake Shimabukuro.

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