• BaltimoreCenterStage01
  • BaltimoreCenterStage02
  • BaltimoreCenterStage03
  • © Peter Hegeman
  • © Karl Connolly
  • © Karl Connolly

Transforming the state theater of Maryland

Center Stage, Baltimore


Project summary


Theatre Peckham was established to enable children and young people to discover theatre and develop a new generation of audiences and practitioners. Through a broad series of educational activities as well as a full schedule of shows, the theatre is a creative hub for emerging theatre lovers in the capital.

Charcoalblue were appointed by the developer, Alumno, to prepare a theatre planning scheme and technical systems design for Theatre Peckham's new home as part of a Section 106 agreement with Southwark Council. Designs were developed in consultation with Theatre Peckham to ensure their requirements could be met within Alumno's budget. Our theatre planning scheme was coordinated with Jestico + Whiles, the project architect, to fit within the rest of their building plan.

The theatre is designed as a flexible studio space with a retractable seating unit that is deployed for end-on performance formats and closed when a flat floor space is required. An audience gallery wraps around the rear and sides of the room and connects with the top of the seating bank, enabling audience members to enter the theatre from either the ground-floor or first-floor foyers. The theatre is equipped with a motorised truss grid over the end-on stage, and fixed pipe grid bays over the audience interspersed with motorised rigging bars to provide a variety of rigging positions for stagelighting, audiovisual and scenic equipment. Modern stagelighting and audiovisual wiring infrastructure throughout the theatre is terminated to a dedicated dimmer and audiovisual rack room beneath the control room. The architectural and worklighting fixtures (including blue fittings for backstage task lighting and wayfinding), are controlled by a dedicated theatrical lighting processor which disables and enables local control of lighting zones according to preset conditions. Two studios complement the theatre as additional rehearsal and small performance spaces. Each studio is provided with a semi-sprung floor, pipe grid, temporary equipment power supplies and a locally controlled loudspeaker system, as well as audiovisual tie-lines to the theatre. A backstage paging system is provided to all key spaces providing show relay and calls to cast and technicians.