The Theatre Royal Bath commissioned Haworth Tompkins to design a 120-seat flexible performing space as a second auditorium within a Grade II listed Victorian building, formerly used as a cinema. The Theatre Royal proposed to use the new space for a young people's theatre, and the consultant team included children and young people who were involved in briefing and developing the design from the very beginning.
“When it is full of children, the atmosphere is beyond electric, and prepared adults should enter at their own risk. There are no stifling facilities-management regimes. Nothing here is precious. This is very much a building for children and this has everything to do with the building's design. ”
Rob Gregory, Architects Journal
A key aim of the project was to achieve a high degree of flexibility without sacrificing a specific sense of place. Since previous conversions had obliterated the original interior, it was proposed to leave only the external walls of the building, inserting a tightly fitting elliptical auditorium into the rectangular shell of crumbling Bath stone. An innovative structural solution was developed to avoid the existing building's foundations, and this informed the egg-shaped auditorium which has given the theatre its name.
The scale of all the spaces at the Egg is tiny and intimate, creating secret meeting places and vantage points in unexpected places. The main circulation winds from a street level cafe up an old light well, crossing and re-crossing the stone walls to culminate in a rooftop rehearsal space.
The Egg Theatre
Address: Sawclose, Bath
Completion Date: October 2005
Construction Cost: £2.3M
Client: Theatre Royal Bath
Contractor: Emerys of Bath
Structural Engineer: Buro Happold
Services Engineer: Buro Happold
Quantity Surveyor: Buro Happold
Theatre Consultant: Anne Minors Performance Consultants
Acoustic Engineer: Fleming & Barron
Lighting Consultant: Patrick Woodroffe Lighting Design
Access Consultant: Buro Happold
B&NES Design Quality Award
RIBA Award (Wessex Region)
USITT Award with Honour