New and transformed spaces now open

-Posted on 12.03.2018
  • Susie Sainsbury Theatre
  • New rooftop Angela Burgess Recital Hall
  • Five new percussion studios
  • 14 refurbished practice and dressing rooms
  • New audiovisual control room

We are delighted to open our newly transformed facilities, including the 309-seat Susie Sainsbury Theatre and the new 100-seat rooftop Angela Burgess Recital Hall, as well as 14 refurbished practice and dressing rooms, five new percussion studios (two opening soon, the others by Easter), a large refurbished jazz room and a new control suite for the Academy’s audiovisual recordings department. The project marks one of the most significant building and renovation projects in the Academy’s near-200-year history.

The Susie Sainsbury Theatre, built on the site of the original Sir Jack Lyons Theatre, has a reshaped auditorium and a new balcony, increasing capacity by 40%, and improving sightlines dramatically. As well as a new fly tower and side wings, the design delivers world-class stage and recording facilities in an adaptable theatre suitable for all forms of opera and musical theatre productions.

The Angela Burgess Recital Hall was built on top of the theatre and, acoustically isolated, it will provide one of the best quality small recording studios in London. Contemporary in style and lined in oak, it features an oculus in the roof, flooding the room with natural light. The 100-plus seats are entirely flexible and the space can be adapted to accommodate recording sessions, rehearsals, masterclasses and performances.

The Academy’s Principal, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood CBE, says:

‘The new facilities mark an important milestone in the Academy’s history with these superb spaces enabling our students to rehearse, perform and record music at the highest level. The project would not have been possible without the tremendous philanthropic support we have received from many close friends. It is testament to how much our generous patrons and donors believe in this institution and want to play their part in inspiring and nurturing the greatest musicians and cultural ambassadors of the future.’

Following two years of touring external venues, Royal Academy Opera (RAO) and the Royal Academy Musical Theatre Company return home this spring. RAO opens the Theatre on 12 March with Jonathan Dove’s Flight, and details of the Academy Musical Theatre Company’s inaugural productions at the new Theatre will be released later this year.

Photo © Adam Scott

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