schools and education
The project for the new Performing Arts Centre was initiated by the college in 2010 following a series of fact-finding visits to Sevenoaks, Benenden and Frensham Heights School to replace the existing Bury Theatre at Hurst, which is now not providing the standard of facility needed by the College. The intention is to provide the College with a flexible courtyard theatre that could respond to a number of different formats to suit drama, dance, music theatre and musical performances.
The college also needed a place where, on occasions, the school could assemble en masse for presentations and addresses by the Headmaster in an environment that is more appropriate than the Chapel. With some 700 pupils in the senior school, it was not feasible to accommodate the whole school and provide an intimate theatre suited to performing arts activities, but with a seating capacity in the order of 370, it is feasible to hold assembly in two groups.
In addition to the auditorium requirements, the original brief investigated the possibility of attaching a variety of related performing arts spaces including the replacement of the existing music school with a small recital hall, music teaching spaces and practice rooms; a dance studio, two large drama rehearsal rooms, and an attendant office, storage and practice spaces. This brief was gradually reduced to meet budget limits and to enable the building to fit comfortably within the site.