• Theatre Royal, York
  • Theatre Royal, York
  • Theatre Royal, York (image credit: Hufton & Crow)
  • Interior of Theatre Royal, York (image credit: Hufton & Crow)

Rejuvenating a theatre steeped in character and heritage



Project summary


Charcoalblue was appointed as part of a design team to carry out a study to address improvements to the audience experience and technical capability of the Theatre Royal. This presented an exciting opportunity to reinvigorate the room and improve the audience experience - accessibility, sightlines, acoustics - while retaining the character and heritage which is at the heart of the auditorium. Although the emphasis is on the main theatre, Charcoalblue offered wider guidance and advice across the building. The refurbishment was overseen by architects De Matos Ryan.

Charcoalblue provided acoustic consultancy including room acoustic design, sound separation and acoustic requirements for building services, as well as theatre consultancy, stage engineering, stagelighting and audiovisual design services.

Existing spaces at the historic façade were repurposed to provide additional foyer and café areas. The plan included the careful integration of acoustic materials into these areas which are mostly comprised of stone and glass. The reconfiguration of the foyer spaces presented the opportunity to address long-standing issues with sound transfer into the auditorium and studio theatre.

The mid-20th Century foyer addition is a thriving multi-storey space. However, the upper levels were encumbered by noise transfer from the ground floor café. Charcoalblue worked to integrate new sound-absorbing and sound-separating elements into the listed architecture.