The Theatres Trust

Diorama Arts Centre


The Diorama Arts collective was formed in the 1970s, inhabiting a building at the South East edge of Regent's Park. This had originally housed Morgan & Pugin's 1823 Diorama. A polygonal brick building set behind a row of terraced houses with Nash facade, the diorama design was by John Arrowsmith, and the actual paintings by Daguerre and Bouton (who had created a successful diorama in Paris). 360 people could sit in the circular auditorium which would then rotate through 73 degrees, turning the whole audience towards different openings in a screen. In 1848 the diorama closed, and by 1854 the building had been converted to a Baptist Chapel. This closed in 1922, when the Middlesex Hospital took it over as a rheumatism treatment pool. In the 1970s, the arts collective created a small theatre within a lively arts centre, widely known as a place for arts, craft, theatre, concerts and more. In 1993 the Crown Estate (landlords) relocated the organisation to a new development close by in Osnaburgh Street - see New Diorama (q.v.). The terrace in front of the diorama building later housed The Prince's Trust. The building itself can be seen externally from Marylebone Road via the entrance to the private road, Peto Place.

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  • Events
    • Owner/Management: The Crown Estate, owners.
    • 1823 - 1825 Design/Construction: terrace of houses.
      • John Nash - Architect
    • 1823 Design/Construction: Diorama building created behind No. 18.
      • James Morgan - Architect
      • Augustus Charles Pugin - Architect
    • 1823 - 1848 Use: as diorama.
    • 1854 Alteration: The Diorama building converted to Baptist Chapel.
    • 1922 Alteration: Chapel use ceased; used by Middlesex Hospital.
    • 1970 Design/Construction: converted for use by Diorama Arts Collective as arts centre.
    • 1970 - 1993 Use: as arts centre.
  • Capacities
    • Original: 90
  • Listings
    • Grade I

Of the period

Exterior of the former Fisher Theatre, Bungay, 1993
Fisher Theatre

Have you seen?

Façade at night, Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury Sept 2011.
The Marlowe Theatre

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