Duke Street Theatre

suzie bridges architects, High Wycombe, 2014


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duke street theatre bar 

foyer bar from recycled timber panelling with lights reclaimed from local skip (website)     Download Original

  • duke street theatre bar    
  • "lucky stiff" opening night    
  • foyer bar and seats made from recycled palettes    
  • duke street theatre studio entrance    
  • duke street theatre thrust stage format    
  • technical control desk delivering professional technical support    
  • the foyer on opening night    
  • Renegade Youth Theatre company in action    
  • duke street theatre - plan    
  • duke street theatre visualisation    
  • 140820 Renegade future exterior proposals.jpg    
  • location plan.pdf    
  • construction team at work    
  • duke street theatre - finishing off the bar    
  • duke street theatre before construction    
  • approach from the car park    
  • bar details - plan    
  • bar details Section A - A    
  • bar details section B - B    

Conversion of a disused industrial unit into a versatile pop-up studio theatre for Renegade Theatre Company

The brief was to design a 150 seat flexible performance venue inside a disused warehouse, to be open in less than three months maximising the use of recycled and donated materials.

What makes this project so innovative is the vision of the young theatre company - to dream of a theatre space, and to deliver it using their own money in these times of arts austerity; to build much of it themselves; and to secure donations of theatre seating, equipment, materials and furniture from local and national organisations. Amazingly they also produced their first show in tandem with construction, ready for the opening night on 5 November.

The project required change of planning use, as well as change of use for building regulations. Defining the building as unheated simplified the construction and will reduce long term energy bills. A strategic solution to the complex requirements for fire escape also kept the build costs and programme on track.

The warehouse provided an industrial blank canvas. The design strategy split the space into two key areas: back stage and performance space.

Demountable rostra and stage floor, donated by Oxford Playhouse, together with seats provided by the local town hall, created the thrust stage layout ready for opening night.

The foyer bar was built by Sam Parker's (the director of the company) father using a combination of donated storage palettes, timber cladding recycled from a Pinewood Studios set, and reclaimed industrial lights. They bring warmth and a sense of drama to the foyer.

The design aim for the inside of the building was to create an informal, energetic atmosphere that will encourage local community to get involved in the company – and to use the space. Future plans include a more extensive upgrade to the external appearance of the building.


  • Begun: Oct 2014
  • Completed: Nov 2014
  • Floor area: 320m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £30,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Sep 2014
  • Procurement: Architects appointment: RIBA standard form of appointment for small works. Construction procurement: direct contract between client and builder.
  • Address: Unit C, 11 Duke Street , High Wycombe, HP13 6EE, United Kingdom

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