Bennetts Associates presses on with King’s Theatre revamp bid

Bennetts Associates has submitted a formal planning application for its transformation of the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh, a project which was recently delayed by a year.

Bennetts Associates presses on with King’s Theatre revamp bid

Image courtesy of Bennetts Associates

The practice has prepared a design statement on behalf of Capital Theatres as part of the application for planning permission and listed building consent and submitted to the City of Edinburgh Council.

Plans include a refurbishment to the front of house and backstage areas, with proposals for an education area and further facilities to boost community use of the theatre.

Step-free access ‘from street to seat’ will be introduced together with a range of back-stage improvements designed to meet the needs of contemporary productions including an extended fly tower, new lighting gantries and technical facilities.

Initially scheduled to start in September 2021, the coronavirus pandemic forced Capital Theatres to announce a 12-month pause to the project in March.

In the planning statement, Capital Theatres said: “Opened in 1906, Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre is one of Scotland’s oldest and most loved theatres. Now over 110 years old, the theatre is in urgent need of an ambitious, major redevelopment to protect and enhance the built heritage for future generations and to modernise facilities, so it can attract customers and top-quality touring productions.

“The theatre believe it is the only Grade A listed theatre in the UK yet to have a major upgrade. The project will futureproof and sustain the operation of the A-listed theatre, whilst providing community access to, and engagement with, its significant heritage.”

Building work will include essential access, public and technical improvements.

“Our aim, however, is not only to transform the historic building but also to create a wide-ranging programme of community and educational activities so that we can engage audiences from across Scotland with the built heritage and a century of social and cultural heritage of the King’s Theatre within its neighbourhood of Tollcross.

“Modern facilities will enable us to attract top quality touring companies which will help restore the King’s as one of the UK’s premier drama houses and bring new work to Edinburgh which has previously been unable to tour here.

“Keeping the building busy, vibrant and relevant will mean that we can keep it viable and well maintained for the next 30-50 years.

“Currently, uncertainty remains on the impact of the COVID-19 virus and the essential need to focus on public health.

“Moving forward, we must continue to consider the future viability of performance and cultural venues in order to ensure these facilities remain available for as many people as possible.

“The project programme has been delayed by a period of one year with construction due to commence mid-2022.

“In the meantime, we remain actively engaged in achieving planning and listed building consent.”

Theatreplan, Thomas & Adamson, Max Fordham, Will Rudd Davidson and Gleeds have all provided contributed technical assistance for the application.

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