Bristol Old Vic – Phase Two
Following the completion of the first phase of a £25 million redevelopment scheme to completely refurbish Bristol Old Vic, work on phase two of the redevelopment is currently underway and on schedule to complete next year.
During phase one, which began in 2010, the redevelopment addressed the Georgian auditorium, rehearsal spaces and back offices and was completed in autumn 2012.
Construction has now begun on the second phase of work which will lead to the transformation of the theatres front of house, studio theatre and other public spaces. The second stage will see the transformation of Coopers’ Hall, development of a new foyer area and the redesign of an unused space.
Following up with Premier Construction magazine, Emma Stenning, Chief Executive of Bristol Old Vic, provided an update on the project.
She said: “At present, there are three sections to this second phase. Part one is the complete refurbishment of Coopers’ Hall which is the Georgian Guild Hall building synonymous with Bristol Old Vic. This is a big part of the works, and will deliver a new studio theatre at basement level, a Grand Hall at first floor level, and a studio at loft level. That is progressing brilliantly, and there are now three very distinct spaces.
“Part two is a wedge shaped area behind Coopers’ Hall, which will house a front of house passenger lift, making Bristol Old Vic accessible at every level, which it hasn’t been before, along with a suite of offices and storage spaces.
“Finally, part three, the most obvious change being the brand new foyer where we have demolished what used to be the studio theatre and a suite of offices built in the 1970s. Those are replaced with Steve Tompkins’ design for a big open foyer, which at its rear will have the revealed 18th century façade of the theatre as a beautiful backdrop to the public space.”
Work on the redevelopment is being undertaken by contractors Gilbert-Ash and architect Steve Tompkins of Haworth Tompkins architects.
Emma commented: “I am very pleased that from a construction point of view everything is going very well. We are still on programme and on budget. We have a brilliant team and everyone is working together very well. Despite the myriad of companies and individuals involved, it really feels like one team coming together to build this building, which is making it a very smooth, and enjoyable process.”
The project is due for completion in mid-2018 and is set to be open to the public for autumn 2018.
Emma concluded: “I came to the theatre in 2008 with a mission to rebuild the building so with the finish line in sight, it is both energising and emotional. To unlock the building for the city, artists and those who want to use it is a really important thing to do. I am also really aware of how much I am going to miss the project when it is finished. In a normal business day, we make theatre productions and you get incredibly used to spending an intense period of time working on something that exists for months, sometimes weeks, but that eventually gets put away at the end. But with a building, you are making something permanent and built to last. I am very certain that there is going to be an incredible high when we first welcome the public in, and then a big low when it is all done. The last 10 years have been dominated by rebuilding this space and once it is done, I will enjoy being in it, but there is a seductive energy about building a building and I will miss that.”