ISG has been appointed to the £16 million redevelopment of the New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth – a joint venture between the theatre and University of Portsmouth. The project will see the reinstatement of a 30m fly tower at the rear of the theatre, some 40 years after the stage house burned down and was subsequently demolished.
The transformation of the New Theatre Royal includes the extension of the original building to provide a range of new facilities that will support the theatre’s ambitions to create its own productions and become an important creative space for film, television and drama students from the university. ISG will deliver a new double-height studio theatre and television studio, each with its own control room, as well as flexible teaching space, music practice rooms and office areas.
A significant fundraising campaign spearheaded by the theatre, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England has enabled the project to get underway, with further donations being sought to carry out additional refurbishment and improvement work to the grade II listed building.
The project will significantly increase the theatre’s current capacity from 500 to 700 seats, due to the removal of temporary structures that were required following the fire in 1972. An additional side entrance will also be formed to enhance accessibility for theatre goers and university staff and students. The project is scheduled for completion in summer 2014.
Caroline Sharman, Director of the New Theatre Royal, commented: “We want work to be produced in Portsmouth, and for it to be a place of learning. We hope the delivery of this important project means more people will become engaged by the arts and that there will be places for leaning different creative skills, such as lighting and sound engineering.”
ISG’s Ian Gifford, managing director – South East, added: “Our experience delivering the £25.6 million Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury undoubtedly proved an important factor in our latest appointment. Directly applying the learning and expertise of our Marlowe project delivery team to the New Theatre Royal redevelopment has resulted in significant efficiencies being identified in the programme and budget, which has really added value to our overall role in the scheme.”