Client: Sam Collins Theatre Trust
A new theatre in London is a rare thing; a new theatre without public funding requires ingenuity and the potential for independent revenue. Located on a small corner site north of Islington Green, the brief was to maximise development potential in the provision of lucrative apartments and restaurant space, whilst providing space enough for a working theatre, its foyers and ancillary spaces. In addition, the proposed auditorium itself was to be the salvaged set from Oscar-winning film Shakespeare in Love. The solution was to sink the entire three storey Globe-style theatre underground, and use the roof as a public ‘piazza’, itself covered with a glass canopy for all-weather use by surrounding restaurants. Above this was an amphitheatre of 72 apartments. Architecturally, the post and beam structure of the Shakespearean theatre proved a useful reference for a modern interpretation in glass and concrete, which could nevertheless invoke the more poetic image of a forest glade.