The new £1.3 million theatre is the latest architectural addition to Gresham's School and reflects the school's character and aspirations for the future.
The building is a contemporary design that responds with sensitivity to its parkland setting. It uses traditional materials and forms to establish a visual harmony with the adjacent Victorian chapel and other school buildings. The design approach to the auditorium draws inspiration from the Arts Team's development work for the Chicken Shed Theatre Company. The 300- seat auditorium has all the associations of a typical small theatre, and is intimate and immediate, encouraging the creative expression of young artists. It is highly adaptable and capable of housing a range of performance types from drama to music. Basic configurations include end-stage, proscenium, thrust stage, in-the-round, promenade, orchestral, recital and oratorio.
The theatre has many innovative features. It is naturally ventilated, using free energy sources. Large earth tubes bring fresh air from outside, which is extracted via natural stack effect through the dramatic roof ventilators that punctuate the skyline. These sculptural elements give the building a resonance with the traditional buildings of North Norfolk.
CLIENT: Gresham's School Charitable Trust
BUILDING ENGINEER: Battle McCarthy
ACOUSTICIAN: Arup Acoustics
QUANTITY SURVEYOR: Baker Mallett
THEATRE EQUIPMENT: Northern Light