Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury

Keith Williams Architects, Canterbury, Kent, 2011

 

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Theatre with an auditorium containing 1,194 seats to replace a converted 1930s cinema

The new auditorium provides 250 more seats than it's predecessor as well as a flexible studio auditorium for up to 300 people, improved foyers and back-of house areas.

The auditorium seating is stacked on three levels in a classic horseshoe configuration, which enables all the seats to be within 22 metres of the stage. A thin layer of foyer accommodation now wraps around the main auditorium on all three levels.

To accommodate its varying functions the building uses elevators and seating wagons to provide various orchestra pit sizes, and its engineered American black walnut balcony fronts have integrated channels which accommodate the cable management system.

The main entrance foyer provides spaces for people linger and for bars and cafés with views views across Canterbury. A new sculptural staircase, that cantilevers from the upper floors with solid guardings, sits within the double-height entrance foyer.

The ground-level foyer is relatively column-free because the upper floors hang from the roof and composite decks with false ceilings connect to painted CHSs.

The remodelling of the flytower is a key part of the buildings aesthetic transformation. The original structure was stripped back to primary steel, with new prefabricated steel trusses integrated at roof level to create the sculpted pinnacle form sitting on existing column locations.

Data

  • Begun: Apr 2009
  • Completed: Sep 2011
  • Floor area: 4,850m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £25.6M
  • Procurement: Design and Build
  • Address: The Friars, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 2AS , United Kingdom

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