Coops Group Shines Dramatic Light On Soho Poly

Date 19/10/2023


Deep inside the University of Westminster (formerly the Polytechnic of Central London) is one of London’s most important post-war alternative theatre venues, The Soho Poly.  Known to many as a springboard for the creative and performance arts of the time, the theatre launched the careers of actors, writers and directors including Bob Hoskins, Simon Callow, Hanif Kureishi, Cary Churchill and Timberlake Wartenbaker.

In recent years the pioneering theatre, which has existed since 1968, had seen neglect and fallen into disrepair. Now awarded with a £400,000 grant for restoration, The Soho Poly has been returned to form, with an installation of disability access, a new exhibition space and an updated performance area.


Coops Group was commissioned to help with the signage.


‘This was a really exciting project for us’, said Scott Cooper, Managing Director of Coops Group.  ‘We felt it was important to reflect the history of the venue and maintain the integrity of its culture.  Passers-by needed to recognise it as something familiar or something new and intriguing.  We started by taking a look at origins of the iconic 70s design of the Soho Poly logo, a fantastic retro logo which reinforces the traditional values of the theatre.  We suggested revisiting the design and celebrating it in a subtle, eye-catching way that reinvigorates the venue.


We took the original logo and centred it in a light box, suggesting it as a blade sign that would project out from the wall of the building.  The logo is already vintage cool, holding all regard for previous sentiment and a nod to the past.  That had to be maintained but with a new twist - so we added lights in blues, reds, yellows and pinks to light up a defining theatre which has captured Soho’s imagination for decades.  


The light box colours reflect the differing and changeable theatrical moods of every performance.  We added finishing touches with some further vinyl graphics at the entrance to enhance the area.’



‘As the shop window of the theatre, we hope it’s reflective of what’s to follow on the inside: an integral space for arts and drama, and, as it was in the seventies, 'the place to be’ for the next up-and-coming generation of creatives.  We are thrilled to see Soho Poly live on as one of London’s coolest alternative theatre venues, and delighted to have been a part of such a historic project to bring the shine back to this hidden gem.’


The history of the Soho Poly and the full details of its restoration can be found here: Restoring The Soho Poly 

Latest News