Theatreplan needed to help rejuvenate the Almeida without allowing the old London venue to lose its famous sense of intimacy
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?
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.
Civic Trust Award
RIBA Award – Shortlisted
“The building is brighter and more spacious… the relationship between stage and auditorium loyally preserved.”
“The refurbishment is a success. The stage and auditorium have retained their distinctive character.”