David Brownlow Theatre at Horris Hill School

Newbury, United Kingdom

A simple yet nuanced theatre to inspire future artists and theatre practitioners.

David Brownlow Theatre - Auditorium. Image by Nick Dearden

A theatre for young voices must use scale and intimacy to be successful without creating a proximity that is intimidating. Students should feel as comfortable as the audience, and so too should their parents and alumni. The finishes must be robust and withstand the regular use by the young children, but the room must also be a finely finished and mature place to welcome guests and prospective families.

David Brownlow Theatre - Stage. Image by Jim Stephenson

The integration of room acoustics design and architecture design is represented in just a few key features. The timber structure is left exposed and the room maintains a lively sound which promotes the loudness of young voices. The sinuous ceiling not only provide architectural relief to the otherwise rectilinear form but is also optimised to provide clear sound reflections across the audience area from all stage positions. The articulation of the walls provides architectural texture while also scattering sound. The simple patterns are scaled to the wavelengths found in the spoken word.

The technical theatre systems provide, firstly, a built-in and resilient infrastructure that can support many years of upgrades, equipment changes and approaches to technology. The installed systems are intended for straightforward and flexible use, including an installed projection screen and “rep plot” of lighting and masking that can be used on a daily basis without special set-ups.

Horris Hill David Brownlow Theatre - Exterior. Image by Jim Stephenson

The resulting David Brownlow Theatre uses well contoured and comfortable bench seating to accommodate both closely spaced students for short assemblies or comfortable for adults during regular performances. Generous sightlines allow students good views as well as adults.

Project Details


Horris Hill Preparatory School


Jonathan Tuckey





Horris Hill David Brownlow Theatre - Stage Front. Image by Jim Stephenson

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