Keeping it cosy

Almeida Theatre, London

Theatreplan needed to help rejuvenate the Almeida without allowing the old London venue to lose its famous sense of intimacy

Challenge

The Almeida has long been a unique space, combining the best of nineteenth century original features with modern facilities. The close relationship between stage and auditorium has always provided much of the venue’s charm. Could the Almeida be renovated yet still keep that trademark intimacy?

Solution

The renovation project included rebuilding the foyer, improving seating and access to the auditorium, and upgrading backstage facilities. Theatreplan was involved in defining the new stage lighting and sound systems, documenting the designs and project-managing the installations. The special ‘found’ quality of the space was preserved by the careful integration of the extensive new technical infrastructure. Apart from new stage lighting and sound equipment we also installed a new ventilation system for comfort cooling.

With a seating capacity of 325 the space works equally well for performances on an epic scale as for intimate productions, despite the modest size of the venue. The audience occupies the same space as the performers and neither is further than twelve metres from the other. The installed seating is generally fixed; benches were favoured for prompting the audience to rub shoulders and share the experience more intimately.

Awards

2004
Civic Trust Award

2003
RIBA Award – Shortlisted

Accolades

“Splendidly refurbished.”
The Independent

“The building is brighter and more spacious… the relationship between stage and auditorium loyally preserved.”
Sunday Times

“The refurbishment is a success. The stage and auditorium have retained their distinctive character.”
Sunday Telegraph

  • Seating capacity: 325
  • Project venue type: Theatre 
  • Project build type: Refurbishment 
  • Location: UK 
  • Completion date: 2003 
  • Project value: £7.6 million
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