Built in 1888 as a Victorian playhouse, the Royal Court has come to represent both risk and continuity in British theatre, a radical tradition of contemporary work performed in historic space. The remodelling and refurbishment sought both to reflect this balance and to reinforce the theatre's cultural and physical sense of place. The approach was partly archaeological, uncovering hidden layers of the buildings fabric and deciding what should be changed and what left exposed as evidence of a rich past, and partly invasive, demolishing, extending and reconfiguring the space to provide better facilities, improved access and more space.
“(the Royal Court) is the most intelligent, sensitive and triumphantly right rebuild I have come across anywhere in world theatre.”
Sheridan Morley, Spectator
The main auditorium was stripped backed and reseated to achieve much better sightlines, and the studio theatre was rebuilt with better headroom, greater technical capacity and a flexibility. The stage and back of house facilities were extensively remodelled and extended.
The previously limited front of house facilities were expanded by constructing a new basement under the Sloane Square to accommodate a bar, restaurant and bookshop, and the connection between the Foyers and the outside world was enhanced by more entrances onto the street, a new balcony and a large vermilion mural by Antoni Malinowski on the back wall of the Auditorium.
The Royal Court Theatre
Address: 50-51 Sloane Squre, London
Completion Date: February 2000
Construction Cost: £14M
Client: English Stage Company
Structural Engineer: Price and Myers LLP
Service Engineer: Max Fordham LLP
Quantity Surveyor: Davis Langdon
Theatre Consultant: Theatre Projects Consultants
Acoustic Engineer: Paul Gillieron Acoustic Design
Cladding Consultant: Montresor Partnership
Access Consultant: Centre for Accessible Environments
Concrete Society Award
RIBA Award (London Region)
RBKC : Conservation and Restoration Award
RBKC : Accessibility Award