Bloomsbury Theatre Refurbishment
Civic Trust Awards
Level of Award
Local Authority Area
Information about this scheme
The Bloomsbury Theatre is a leading stage for London and a training ground for the next generation of theatre- makers. It provides a unique resource for student productions and a rich professional programme.
The project creates a state-of-the-art theatre facilitating increased collaboration between academics, artists, performers, directors, and companies. Student/Academic input was key and the re-opened theatre offers UCL, its neighbours, and the public, access to an exciting new mix of experimental theatre and research-driven content in addition to west-end music, drama, and dance. Work had to be carried out while all the building’s other facilities continued, which included the reinstatement of the theatre and works to the stage and fly- tower including replacement of the proscenium stage’s motorized thrust, which can be removed to expose an orchestra pit for up to 60 musicians.
The theatre’s services have been entirely replaced. A key challenge was understanding the extent of historic and redundant services, as well as the live ones which crisscrossed the theatre, yet fed other parts of the building. This upgrade, combined with other environmental considerations, has contributed to the project’s expected SKA Gold rating. The complete replacement of the internal finishes included acoustic and decorative linings, joinery and metalwork. Black painted tulipwood and American black walnut is contrasted with satin-matt finished brass ironmongery and metalwork which, combined with the plush red seating, create a sense of understated sumptuousness, perfectly complementing the original brutalist design.
It is clear that the community benefit is much enhanced to the benefit of productions by students and community groups alongside commercial productions – a mixed economy designed to sustain the operation of the theatre. In addition, the space is used for various projects related to teaching and research at UCL.
The refurbishment has resulted in a very positive upgrade to the facilities for audiences, the performers and the technicians.
Nicholas Hare Architects
University College London
Integral Engineering Design
Primary Use Class
Class D2g - Theatre