The Theatres Trust

Plans unveiled for modern take on The Theatre in Hackney

19th August 2009

Full details of the Tower Theatre Company’s plans to build a £7 million base on the site where Shakespeare’s works were first performed have been submitted to the London Borough of Hackney to demolish a warehouse that occupies the area, to make way for a four-storey theatre designed by Bland, Brown and Cole, the architects behind the Cambridge Arts Theatre.

The first two storeys of the proposed building – which will be built around the remains of the original playhouse – will feature a box office, bar and a 135-seat auditorium, which will be used by Tower Theatre to stage 18 shows annually and will be available to hire for other arts and community organisations. The rest of the building will house dressing rooms, rehearsal spaces and a costume store.

Last year, the company commissioned an excavation of the site by the Museum of London Archaeology in the capital’s Shoreditch area. The dig uncovered what are thought to be the original brick foundations of The Theatre – one of London’s first playhouses, which was built in 1576 and was home to the company in which Shakespeare first performed as an actor, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. The building was dismantled in 1599 and its timbers were shipped across the Thames to construct the original Globe Theatre.

Tower Theatre company chair Jeff Kelly said: “The architect Barry Brown has come up with an interesting design which is in essence a white cube, but breaking out of that is an oak timber framed bay that adopts one of the angles of the polygonal building that was originally there.

Source: The Stage

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