The Kiln Theatre on London’s Kilburn High Road (previously known as Tricycle Theatre) has been a centre for diverse, experimental productions since the 1980s. A site-wide renovation enriches the audience experience with an upgraded performance space and new front of house facilities.
The Kiln theatre has a unique footprint which sees it nestled inconspicuously between smaller shop fronts but expanding out behind the street façade to adjoin the cinema at the rear.
The new theatre takes a courtyard form, developing the 235-seat Georgian styling of the old Tricycle, with the two-level auditorium surrounding a seating pit, maintaining the intimacy whilst increasing the capacity to 294 seats. The theatre volume has been expanded to inhabit the majority of Forester’s Hall, pulling the auditorium out to the external walls and dropping the stalls entrance level to the existing floor slab. This key move has meant that the new auditorium has become an accessible space for the modern era with level accessible access to stalls.
“I’ve seen refurbishments elsewhere that have crassly banished the venue’s ghosts… This splendid revamp is much too sensitive to be guilty of that.”
The new room allows adaptations to the space within the extent of the balcony. Its primary form is an end-on format that echoes the original Tricycle, but it can be adapted to do far more. In the same way as the original concept, the space is not designed to be reconfigured using gadgets and expensive machinery; rather it is a space which can be transformed by reconfiguring, adding or removing demountable structures to create the alternative formats. The room can transform from the standard end-on format to extended end-stage, cabaret, in-the round, traverse and promenade configurations and more; all with differing sized stages and seat counts and all supported by the new technical provisions.
A new permanent control room at the rear of the theatre leads onto a dedicated technical level from which equipment can be rigged and focused without the need for ladders or access equipment, providing a safe working environment for technical staff.
“The auditorium feels wider and roomier, glisteningly new and up-to-date, but with original features from the Foresters’ Hall visible all over. And, best of all, it’s only two buttocks to a seat...”
New technical level:
- Series of technical catwalks providing safe, easy access to high-level technical positions, accessible from the new control room and the dimmer/rack room.
- 10 rolling beams providing high point loads (500kg) over the stage and auditorium.
Seating & Stage:
- 72 pieces of demountable rostra forming the front half of the stage and tiered seating, providing flexible seating and staging formats – including in-the-round, long & short traverse, and flat floor - in addition to end-on.
- Seating capacity increased from 235 to 294. All seating within the parterre at stalls level is removable, mounted to a series of Unistrut rails set in to the demountable rostra.
Lighting and power:
- 124 ETC Sensor ThruPower dimmers, max capacity of 192 (increased from 100).
- Paradigm control of new, LED (GDS) houselighting and worklights.
- New technical infrastructure providing control distribution via a mix of DMX and network tielines as well as dimmer outlets distributed throughout the building.
- 3 x 63A three-phase power supplies – Dock, DSL, and catwalks, plus 32A, 16A, and 13A supplies around stage house, auditorium, and catwalks.
Sound and Communications:
- Building-wide paging & show relay, as well as wired ring intercom are provided along with a comprehensive wiring infrastructure for audio, video, loudspeaker, cue lights and Ethernet including fibre links to the cinema.
- Prompt desk can be situated DSL, DSR, 2 positions in the control room, production desk FoH, or in an accessible DSM position to stalls auditorium right.
- Infra-red system for assisted listening / audio description, as well as an induction loop on all three levels.
A section drawing of the Kiln auditorium.
Building Services Engineering
Stage Engineering Contractor
Stagelighting and Audiovisual Contractor