The building started life in 1850 as a market hotel and through a number of transformations became a cine-variety theatre. It was subsequently used as a cinema until the mid 1970s when it was brought back into use as a theatre after threatened demolition. Prior to development, the Theatre Royal suffered from extremely cramped front- and back-of-house areas. The acquisition of two adjacent Listed Georgian terraced buildings offered the opportunity for comprehensive renovation and extension of the existing building.
Burrell Foley Fischer LLP won a design competition to develop a new strategy for the Theatre, providing a new entrance foyer, a bar foyer in a covered courtyard, improved stage and backstage facilities, as well as a comprehensive programme of refurbishment and improvements to the auditorium, seating capacity 420. Careful articulation of the building’s surface textures, materials and spaces has allowed the history of successive generations of use to be revealed while opening up new and delightful spaces.
Awards for the building include The Winchester City Council Award for Good Architecture 2001 and a Civic Trust Award 2003.