Royal Holloway, University of London has been given the green light to build a brand new state-of-the-art theatre.
The Department of Drama and Theatre Studies, based at Sutherland House will soon demolish its current studio to make way for the new industry-competing theatre.
Councillors voted unanimously in favour of approving the planning application at the local planning committee meeting last week.
The new theatre design proposes the removal of the dated 1970’s studio theatre and in its place Foster Wilson Architects' exciting design offers an intimate and flexible space for 21st century theatre makers. The curved gallery overlooks a central space which can be configured in many different ways. The new theatre is linked to the Regency elegance of Sutherland House by a glass foyer which welcomes audiences to experience the wide range of performances created by students and visiting companies. Newly configured backstage space offers a workshop, design space, accessible dressing rooms and two new rehearsal rooms, which together greatly enhance the working and teaching spaces available to the department.
The project will also include repairs and refurbishment to the Grade II listed Sutherland House, a Victorian building dating from 1810 which is an example of a villa from the early development of Egham as a suburb. The plans will ensure the new building will be of a high quality design and more appropriate to the setting of the listed building.
Dr Gilli Bush-Bailey, Director of Theatre Development, said: “The department is delighted that Runnymede has recognised the importance of the new theatre to future generations. The design by award winning theatre architects Foster Wilson recognises the cutting-edge performance work and research of Royal Holloway's Department of Drama and Theatre and its innovative theatre space will be a launching pad for future young theatre makers following the successes of acclaimed alumni companies including Analogue and Non-Zero-One.”
Professor Dan Rebellato, Head of Department, said: “We are delighted by the Council's enthusiastic approval of our new theatre, a state-of-the-art venue for theatrical performance and study, and a significant enhancement to the University and the local area's arts provision.”