Donmar Dryden Street, 2013

a converted warehouse for theatrical back of house and rehearsal space

Donmar Dryden Street is the conversion of a robust Victorian warehouse building in Covent Garden to provide new rehearsal, education and support facilities for the nearby Donmar Warehouse theatre. Our aim was to create a sense of playful, creative occupation of a found space.

A combination of re-planning, extension and removal within the highly constrained site has yielded a technically sophisticated new rehearsal room, a street fronting green room, administration offices, a large multipurpose studio space and an attic apartment for visiting artists.

Stripped back and partially demolished walls and ceilings have been left raw as a suitably theatrical backdrop to the Donmar’s working life, with a new polychromatic staircase, hand painted by artist Antoni Malinowski, as the warm heart of the building.

Tap to cycle the gallery

The personality of the historic architecture, evolved over generations of industrial use, has been allowed to set the tone, with a provisional, loose-fit language of new additions setting up a fluid, temporally elastic relationship between new and old. New materials are simple and unadorned - whitewashed plywood, painted timber beams and wall coverings, waxed mild steel and dark walnut - to complement the richly patinated texture of the found surfaces and the vivid colours of the new staircase.

“We feel continually supported and inspired by Haworth Tompkins' skill, enthusiasm, and vision for the Donmar. They are an incredible partner for us as we build our cultural homes for staff, actors, and audience.” Josie Rourke, Artistic Director - Donmar Warehouse


donmar warehouse

artist collaboration

antoni malinowski

main contractor


project manager

vincent wang

structural engineer

price & myers

services engineer

skelly & couch

quantity surveyor

gardiner & theobald and jackson coles

theatre consultant


picture credits

philip vile, valerie bennett

2015 — RIBA London Award: Donmar Dryden Street

Behind the scenes