Bloomsbury Theatre

University College London

We were appointed by University College London to lead the design team on the complex refurbishment of the Bloomsbury Theatre. The theatre is owned and operated by the University and the project required an extensive programme of improvement and renewal.

Built in 1968 to the designs of James Cubitt & Partners, the theatre provides a unique resource for students to run extra-curricular student productions and it has gained a reputation in a number of fields, from student opera to innovative stand-up comedy. The theatre also offers a rich professional programme of west-end music, drama, and dance all year round, although time for dedicated university use is being increased from 12 to 28 weeks a year following the refurbishment.

The theatre's 550-seat auditorium has been entirely and sensitively refurbished as part of the project, with new services and technical infrastructure that will help drive a more inclusive and far-reaching programme.

Click here to see a short film about the theatre and its refurbishment. The project was the subject of a feature in Building magazine which can be viewed by clicking this link.

The theatre officially re-opened in February 2019.

A complex challenge

Work had to be carried out while all of the building's other facilities continued to operate as normal: a complex challenge as the auditorium sits sandwiched between the student gym above it and part of the main UCL student refectory beneath it, with other University and student facilities all around it.

The Theatre will celebrate its fiftieth year by unveiling an expertly restored, significantly upgraded venue. This cutting-edge revamp will give student societies and productions the full benefits of a 21st century theatre and create the opportunity for collaboration between academics, artists, performers, directors and companies.
UCL Culture

State-of-the-art facilities

The refurbishment has created a 500-seat state of the art theatre, with technical facilities to rival the very best. As well as the re-instatement of the auditorium, the scope of the project included improving accessibility for the audience and to back-stage technical areas, works to the stage and fly-tower including replacement of the proscenium stage’s motorised thrust, which can be removed to expose an orchestra pit to accommodate up to 60 musicians.

A stunning reimagining of this 1960s gem – NHA have delivered exactly what we wanted – a theatre that will support the wide range of activity we envisaged as well as a high-quality visitor experience well into the future.
Frank Penter, Director of Operations, UCL Culture

Our Team

Project Team

  • Client: University College London (UCL)
  • Project Management: Arcadis
  • Cost Planning: AECOM
  • Theatre Consultant and Acoustician: Charcoalblue
  • Services Engineer: Max Fordham
  • Structural Engineer: Integral Engineering Design
  • Sustainability Consultant: Useful Projects
  • Fire Engineer: The Fire Surgery

Awards

  • Shortlisted: AJ Retrofit Awards

Related