Chichester Festival Theatre, 2014

the renewal and expansion of a landmark Modernist producing theatre

Funded by local subscription and conceived as a 1300 seat ‘pavilion in the park’ by architects Powell and Moya, the innovative 1962 Chichester Festival Theatre was the UK’s first thrust stage performance space. In upgrading and expanding the bold Modernist building to make it more welcoming and technically capable, our approach was to strip the theatre back to its original clarity and add equally bold new elements.

We removed non-original accretions, expanded the foyer and re-housed the back of house facilities within a new extension of weathered steel to complement the rough concrete of the original building.

The wide, low auditorium has been significantly re-modelled to improve sightlines, increase theatrical intimacy and provide a more technically sophisticated and adaptable environment for contemporary theatre.

Painted foyer ceilings and walls by artist Antoni Malinowski complement the geometries of the existing structure and amplify the presence of the surrounding landscape, as do more transparent circulation staircases and pale concrete interior floors merging into outdoor terraces, blurring internal and external spaces.

The defining relationship between the building and its parkland setting has been further strengthened by reconfigured, pedestrian-oriented approach routes and the introduction of new tree planting.

“The great thing about the superbly renovated Chichester Festival Theatre is that it simply seems like a better version of its former self.” Charles Spencer, The Telegraph


chichester festival theatre

collaborating artist

antoni malinowski

main contractor


project manager


structural engineer

price & myers

services engineer

skelly & couch

quantity surveyor

gardiner & theobald

theatre consultant


acoustic consultant

Gillieron Scott Acoustic Design

landscape architect

camlin lonsdale landscape architects

picture credits

philip vile, valerie bennett

2016 — Chicago Athenaeum International Architectural Award: Chichester Festival Theatre
2015 — RICS South East Conservation Highly Commended: Chichester Festival Theatre
2015 — RIBA South East Building of the Year Award: Chichester Festival Theatre

Behind the scenes
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