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Redevelopment of Cornwall’s largest theatre begins

05/11/18

Hall for Cornwall, the county’s largest theatre and performance venue, has handed over the keys to developers this month as it begins a two year redevelopment programme.

Cut-away of the redevelopment scheme at Hall For Cornwall. Image: BFF Architects.

In the heart of the picturesque city of Truro in Cornwall, England, the city’s centre for performing arts, Hall for Cornwall, has begun its largest redevelopment in twenty years. This month the hall’s staff closed the existing building for the last time and formally handed the keys to the building team.

“This is a key milestone in our journey to create a world-class venue which will provide Cornwall with access to the very best performing arts to rival anywhere in the country, as well as creating jobs and boosting the local economy,” said Hall for Cornwall Chair of Trustees Chris Pomfret.

Following a six-year planning and consultation period, the project, led by Burrell Foley Fischer with theatre design consultancy by Charcoalblue, will address a number of barriers to the theatre’s artistic ambition. The auditorium will be redesigned to create a more open space and will add 300 seated and standing positions. The new format with a flexible proscenium will lend itself to not just plays and musicals but comedy nights, live music and classical concerts also. Accessibility will be improved with new ramps, lifts and seating positions. Elsewhere dressing rooms and backstage facilities will be re-envisioned for a better experience for visiting artists. Front of house, the much-loved Christopher Eales-designed market place entrance will be restored and will form the centrepiece for the theatre’s foyer with a new restaurant set to be open throughout the day.

Section render of Hall For Cornwall. Image: BFF Architects.

“Hall for Cornwall has been home to some of the country’s most iconic cultural moments such as Queen’s first gig with Freddie Mercury in 1970,” says Senior Consultant Flip. “As such, preserving its heritage and affirming its future is important for Cornwall and the UK. We’re excited to be working with the wider project team to create a flexible venue with leading-edge facilities and equipment to draw the very best shows and artists to the region.”

An economic impact study found the redevelopment of Hall for Cornwall will add 165 jobs a year and £35.6 million to the Cornish economy by 2025/26.

Exterior render of Hall For Cornwall. Image: BFF Architects.

You'll like the sound of this.

“The new Hall for Cornwall auditorium will have the potential of significantly changing the audience’s perception of live performance. The biggest challenge is ensuring the space sounds perfect whatever art form is presenting on stage.

Dividing the audience into three tiers and wrapping the audience around the side walls will provide visual continuity and a real sense of intimacy. By reducing the rake depth of the stalls, narrowing the sidewalls and preserving the large acoustic volume, the experience for the audience will be more spatial rather than 'cinematic'. We're designing the space to be more expressive, but not to the detriment of speech clarity and amplified sound quality.

In technical terms, variable acoustic devices will be used to tailor the space for various events, including drama, amplified events such as rock concerts, comedy, as well as unamplified classical concerts. These devices will be used in various combinations to suit the taste of performers and listeners, as well as to respond to operational issues such as free movement between the foyers and the auditorium. We can't wait for you to hear how it sounds.”

Vangelis, Senior Consultant

Credits

Architect

BFF Architects

Theatre Consultant / Acoustician

Charcoalblue

Project Manager / Cost Consultant

Currie & Brown

Services Consultant

Skelly & Couch

Structural Consultant

Price & Myers

Fire Engineering

BB7

A render of the auditorium. Image: BFF Architects.

Nicholas Smith

For more on what we're up to at Charcoalblue, speak to Nicholas.

+44 (0)20 7928 0000

Nicholas Smith

For more on what we're up to at Charcoalblue, speak to Nicholas.

Contact Nicholas

+44 (0)20 7928 0000