The complete refurbishment of the 200-seat theatre has been made possible by a donation of £3.5 million from The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation.
UK - A new theatre for The Arts Educational Schools, London (ArtsEd), designed by RHWL Arts Team, has been completed and opened last night in the presence of president and benefactor Lord Lloyd-Webber and with a performance of one of his most celebrated musicals Evita.

The 200-seat horseshoe theatre was created as part of a major programme of refurbishment made possible by a donation of £3.5 million from The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation. The theatre's design was conceived by RHWL Arts Team who was appointed as architect to deliver a contemporary performance space enabling students of the school to more closely experience West End conditions. The interior design aims to reflect the vibrancy of the School and the energy and enthusiasm of the students.

The new theatre has been completely remodelled within the old space and is now fully accessible at both stalls and circle levels. An orchestra pit and a control room have been added and technical improvements include new show lighting and sound infrastructure and increased flying capacity within the enlarged stage house. The proscenium side walls can hinge back and the stage can be extended forward into the stalls depending on the demands of each show.

The four areas of the project scope, the main theatre and foyers, the acting school for film and TV, much improved accessibility facilities and extensive loft costume storage were selected from a larger potential scheme by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation. The refurbishment included the improvement of the quality of the performance, rehearsal and studio spaces and the transformation of the main theatre into a new horseshoe form, bridging the gap between the school's teaching and the reality of a West End stage. Students of the new theatre will now play to an upper balcony in the same way as the performers in traditional London theatres.

Jane Harrison, Principal of the Arts Educational Schools London (ArtsEd), said: "From the start, RHWL Arts Team worked to create exciting designs and deliver a theatre that catered for the needs of the school. The theatre is not only stunning but will now give the students an environment akin to that of the West End, which will be of huge benefit to them in the future."

Stewart King, director of RHWL Arts Team, said: "ArtsEd has a proud history of high quality teaching and training of the performing arts. RHWL Arts Team is delighted to have been involved in the improvement of the school's facilities in order for the building to match the high quality education that the school provides. The students now have the opportunity to perform within a setting similar to theatres of the West End, which should be of great benefit to them in the future."

(Lee Baldock)

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