Perth Theatre

Richard Murphy Architects, Perth, 2017


Subscribe now to instantly view this image

Subscribe to the Architects’ Journal (AJ) for instant access to the AJ Buildings Library, an online database of nearly 2,000 exemplar buildings in photographs, plans, elevations and details.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

The glazed facade 

Keith Hunter     Download Original

  • The glazed facade    
  • The facade is formed of translucent low-iron content cast glass planks, made by Linit, supported within a powder-coated steel edge frame    
  • The brick wall of the original auditorium    
  • The foyer space features cafés and bars    
  • The foyer is the organisational locus of the new theatre complex    
  • Oak-slatted linings in the studio deal with both acoustic performance and concealment of services and air grilles    
  • The studio theatre    
  • The original theatre was built at a cost of £4,500 during a heyday of theatre-building across Britain in the late 19th and early 20th century    
  • The existing Edwardian auditorium and proscenium have been carefully restored and refurbished to comply with current technical standards    
  • View of the foyer space from above    
  • Location plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Second floor plan    
  • Third floor plan    
  • Long section    
  • Section AA    
  • Section BB    
  • Studio theatre detail section    

The transformation of Perth Theatre’s tucked-away Edwardian playhouse has given the venue a dynamic new street presence.

The existing Edwardian auditorium and proscenium have been carefully restored and refurbished to comply with current technical standards and to provide modern ‘back of house’ facilities.

A new 200-seat studio theatre, the Joan Knight Studio, has been created to cater for smaller productions, concerts and conferences. Flexible enough to allow for rapid reconfiguration and set-up, its design allows the theatre to manage its programme with events of all types, sizes and duration. 

The new venue has increased workshop spaces for creative learning and community projects, including Perth Youth Theatre, as well as vastly improved barrier-free access and facilities for audiences and visitors.

A new entrance lobby and box office hall are now accessed from the north on Mill Street, tucked beneath the studio theatre and separated from the dock by a red screen wall. The angled wall of the box office draws the visitor in to a triple-height internal courtyard, which clearly articulates a new wing of accommodation from the retained and refurbished existing structure. In this space, the brick party wall of the existing auditorium is newly revealed and washed in light from a vertical glazed screen at the rear of the foyer, and a narrow skylight above. Passing through the depth of this wall takes the visitor from new to old, and to the darker but intimate embrace of the refurbished auditorium.

This new foyer space, enlivened by cafés and bars and with vertical circulation and gathering spaces linking the new and existing levels, is the organisational locus of the new theatre complex.

Vertical planes of vivid polished plaster are edged in dark metal trim, balustrades and barriers are articulated in detail, providing varying degrees of transparency and places to sit or to stand. Structural concrete is left exposed and legible, reinforcing the circulation and clarity of the plan and section. Oak wall and ceiling linings are tactile and give warmth, while also modulating the acoustics of the various volumes. Signage is incorporated into the finishes and overall design.


  • Begun: Mar 2016
  • Completed: Dec 2017
  • Floor area: 5,069m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £11.4M
  • Address: Mill Street, Perth, PH1 5HZ, United Kingdom

Professional Team

AJBL Sponsor

Armstrong World Industries

A global leader in providing customised, multi material ceiling and wall solutions

Find out more