Monday, 5 March 2012
The performing arts centre is a new theatre built for both teaching use and public performance, including dance, drama and music. The auditorium, with a seating capacity of 340, is modelled on double cube proportions, creating a very adaptable space rising in three tiers to an exposed, trussed rafter roof. Staging can be arranged in a variety of layouts to suit the performance space required: from an open-end stage to a proscenium frame; and from a thrust stage to theatre-in-the-round. The seating can be electronically retracted to the rear wall to give a level floor surface throughout. Each of the staging configurations can be set up by three people in about 45 minutes.
The building is sited within the grounds of an Edwardian Mansion, which accommodates the main part of the school, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It rests calmly behind a screen of mature oak trees, through which the lively foyer areas can be seen from the direction of approach.
Awards for the building include The Farnham Society Amenity Award 2001, The Royal Fine Art Commission/Sky TV ‘Building of the Year Award’ in the Education Category 2001, The Timber Industry Award 2001, The Waverley Design Award 2001 and a Civic Trust Award 2003.