The Orange Tree Theatre has come a long way since it was founded, in 1971, in a room above the Orange Tree public house, in Richmond, Surrey. In 1991 it opened a new theatre in the nineteenth-century former St John's School across the road with space for a 160-seat theatre in the round, but minimal back-of-house and audience facilities, and no dedicated space for prop-making and rehearsals.
In 1997 the theatre bought an adjacent site, and appointed Pawson Williams to design additional accommodation in a new building. The proposed building will be mainly rendered, with key elements such as the entrance canopy marked out in highly coloured stone, and a double-height glazed screen signalling the entrance. Rehearsal and stage-management spaces are at second- and third-floor levels in a tower, which takes its scale from the Orange Tree pub - a flamboyant Edwardian building of brick and stone. Prop-making facilities are in the basement while box office, bar, foyer and exhibition spaces are at ground- and first-floor levels. A glazed bridge link crosses an existing passageway and leads to the theatre auditorium.
CLIENT: The Orange Tree Theatre
ARCHITECT: Pawson Williams Architects: Richard Brown, Terry Pawson, Keith Williams
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Barton Engineers
SERVICES ENGINEER: Max Fordham & Partners
ACOUSTICIAN: Acoustic Dimensions
ACCESS CONSULTANT: Centre for Accessible Environments
MODELMAKER: Jackie Hands