Academy’s new theatre reaches milestone

-Posted on 25.07.2017

The Academy’s state-of-the-art new theatre and recital hall had their ‘topping-out’ ceremony last week, with the fitting of the highest point of the new roof. Osborne, the construction company behind the development, put in place the special glazed oculus that is a feature of the new recital hall, with the help of the Academy’s Principal, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood.

The new theatre and recital hall are designed by Ian Ritchie Architects and were recently nominated in the World Architecture Festival 2017 Finals for Education. The design of the 311-seat theatre brings the audience closer to the stage on all sides, like a traditional opera house, and increases the size of both the orchestra pit and the auditorium. A new fly tower allows students to work in a fully professional environment and the space is acoustically engineered by Arup. The elegant modern design features maple, and 600 crystals are suspended from the ceiling.

The new recital hall is modelled in light oak and seats 100 people, also serving as a rehearsal space and a hi-tech recording studio, offering students a fully professional experience. The roof features the glass oculus that was fitted in the topping-out ceremony. The two venues are acoustically separated and both back on to airy internal spaces which lead directly to the Academy’s main staircase. This has been opened out, which will improve the way people move around the building and transform the way it is used.

Jonathan Freeman-Attwood said of the topping-out ceremony: ‘These fantastic new facilities will have a transformational effect on the professional prospects of the world’s most talented young musicians, and the event afforded a brief moment of true anticipation and excitement as we begin to see how this exceedingly complicated project is now thrillingly on the home straight. The expertise, dedication and teamwork to make this happen – across all the parties involved – was reflected in the collective pride of the occasion.’

Photo: courtesy of Harry Grout, Osborne

Illustration of new Recital Hall: Ian Ritchie Architects

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