This Arts Council lottery-funded project was a major redevelopment of an arts complex consisting of buildings constructed in 1885, 1923 and 1927. It sits on a sloping site set against the dramatic Malvern hills and opening out to Priory Park below. The three auditoria - the Festival Theatre, the Elgar Hall and a cinema - provide complementary performance spaces of a type essential to a well co-ordinated arts centre. For the first time, however, each of these spaces feels part of the whole.
The new-build element centres on the creation of a two-level foyer space at the heart of the building. The roof has been raised at this point to create a view through to Priory Park. Bars and a restaurant overlooking the gardens also capitalise on the powerful location. The new central stair leads to the upper bar from where bridges span across the high space to the new Elgar Hall circle.
The Elgar Hall is now a flexible space for the development and presentation of the performing arts. The stage has been enlarged and the auditorium reduced by 150 seats, which has optimised the use of space. The flat-floored auditorium can quickly and easily be transformed into a densely seated, tiered theatre encircled by a new balcony. The Festival Theatre, intended mainly for drama, has an increased seating capacity with improved sightlines, comfort and sense of intimacy.
CLIENT: Malvern Festival Theatre Trust
THEATRE EQUIPMENT: Carr & Angier
ENGINEER: Furness Green Partnership
ACOUSTICIAN: Arup Acoustics
QUANTITY SURVEYOR: Bucknall Austin