Conservation and Renewal

Cambridge Arts Theatre

Cambridge Arts Theatre

Cambridge Design and Construction Awards 2015 – Commendation, Sustainability category

 

Burrell Foley Fischer have been responsible for the redevelopment plans for the Cambridge Arts Theatre, listed Grade II, since 2010. The new build project, which Cambridge Arts have termed “Act 2”, is their vision to secure the theatre’s future through the creation of a new foyer and new performance spaces. Building on both John Maynard Keynes’s founding vision and the legacy of their early nineties refurbishment, their intention is to ensure the sustainability of this wonderful theatrical institution for the long term benefit of the Cambridge community.

 

 
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the designs [BFF] produced showed a profound understanding of the spaces we have available and created open, light-filled and elegant facilities, which have been very well-received by our Patrons.
— Dave Murphy, Chief Executive
 
 

 

The front-of-house area was previously very small, with little street presence, which restricted the facilities they were able to offer their patrons. Following the completion of Phase I, supported with Arts Council England funding, patrons entering the theatre from St. Edward’s Passage are greeted with a large, bright foyer. There is extended bar space with new seating areas, making it easier to buy refreshments before shows and during intermission. At the same time, the current Peas Hill entrance and foyer has been comprehensively refurbished.

 

 
 
 
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The redevelopment plans were scheduled to minimise the disruption to the theatre’s regular programme of performances. Whilst the construction works lasted for 21 weeks, there was a break in performances for only ten weeks over the summer with the box office remaining open as usual.

 

 
 
the main reason we selected BFF was their unusual combination of experience of innovative architectural designs and deep knowledge of the performing arts. In practice, this meant we very quickly became comfortable that they understood the objectives of our charity and the practical and financial constraints that we face.
— Dave Murphy, Chief Executive