This council-owned theatre offers a performance space for local theatre groups, music and drama competitions, and fund-raising activities. The theatre had been unavailable for some time, as it required strengthening and had weather-tightness issues.

A strengthening scheme had been prepared but not enacted as it was very invasive and costly. With the help of our preferred structural engineer we developed a less invasive scheme, which allowed the project to proceed.

The brief was to prepare the theatre for the next 50 years without making wholesale changes. We rationalised the external form as much as possible to remove leak risk junctions and treated the building as a single mass to help make sense of the overall form. Muted colour and material palettes were needed to sit alongside the neighbouring council building.

The front-of house lacked any sense of arrival and was cramped and dark, so we reworked that area and carried out basic lifecycle replacement work on the back-of-house functionality.

The rose was a strong existing theme in the theatre; the theatre sits within the river-side city rose gardens, its function room is named the ‘Rose Room’, and the rose is synonymous with performance. We took the rose as inspiration and abstracted it based on the faceted nature of the building to create a significant and strong entry and building iconography. This flows from the new entry into the floors, walls, ceilings, and graphics.

The result was a project achieved ahead of time, under budget, and for a very happy client. A community asset that contributes to regional vitality now has a vibrant future.