Inside the theatre
The new Everyman theatre had one overriding design brief, to produce a new, state of the art, flexible theatre that captured the soul of this iconic space.
The development of the design started by using the atypical form of the Everyman, a space born out of the adaption and reconfiguration of Hope Hall. The heart of the old Ev was its expansive stage that dominated the three sided auditorium; this epic platform was wrapped on three side with seating banks that curved around the corners engulfing the stage, all encased within a letterbox envelope that emphasised the proportions of the space. It was these elements that were embraced by the design team to embody the Everyman’s sprit.
The process developed with continual and detailed discussion between the artistic, technical and executive client teams, architects and Charcoalblue, and involved Everyman’s alumni, made up of actors, designers, writers, and directors from the wider theatrical community.
Gradually the design for the room solidified, resulting in the room that can be seen today. The space is smaller and more compact in plan than the original, creating a platform that focuses the audience around the stage and creates a democratic experience that embraces the ethos of the space. The room "reads" very much as the original space, yet it is these changes that enhance its form.
The addition of a balcony level pulls the audience closer to the stage and encloses the performance, while the stalls seating surrounded by a fixed parterre is extremely flexible and can be arranged in multiple formats. The accessibility of the space is now fit for the 21st century and although the room retains the history of the Everyman and sits in much the same location, the spaces above and below are now also dedicated to the theatre, providing much-needed technical facilities and giving new freedom to the use of the theatre.
Sitting in the theatre on the first open day to the public was when we were first sure that the brief was achieved, with many visitors seeing the new building for the first time and responding with excitement, delight and relief that the spirit of the old space had been preserved.
Ben Hanson - Senior Theatre Designer, Charcoalblue