Architectural Design images © ArtsTeam, part of RHWL Architects
RHWL Arts Team has been appointed for the renovation of Tara Arts, a cross-cultural theatre in Earlsfield in the London Borough of Wandsworth.
Originally established in 1997, Tara Arts was the first Asian-led theatre company to be formed in the UK. It is now located in a converted Victorian terrace in Earlsfield, with a 50 seat venue offering theatre, comedy, poetry and other events.
RHWL Arts Team’s brief is to upgrade the theatre building and audience experience, boosting capacity to 100 seats, creating a more flexible space for performances, a new rehearsal space and making the venue fully accessible to audience, staff and artists.
The performance space will feature a reclaimed wooden floor overlaying an adaptable earthen floor to offer an original alternative surface for both Tara Arts and visiting theatre productions. Capacity will be doubled and a greater variety of possible stage configurations incorporated. The renovated theatre will also feature improved room acoustics, a new lighting grid and new seating.
The new design will also incorporate better front of house facilities, allowing the bar and foyer to open to the auditorium or act as an autonomous element, with a large sliding door separating the spaces.
Jatinder Verma, Artistic Director at Tara Arts said:
“Our mission is to make imaginative connections across cultures through presenting classic and new theatre. After 30 years in our Victorian building, the time has come for us to offer better facilities both to artists and audiences to sustain the vision of cross-cultural theatre in Britain. Arts Council England‘s timely support has made it possible to realise this vision.
“RHWL Arts Team completely understood our brief. Their dedication to this project, as well as their experience in delivering large and small theatres for other arts organisations across the UK, convinced us they were the right team to take Haworth Tompkins excellent feasibility work on to the next stage.”
Julian Middleton, Director of RHWL Arts Team said: “The new incarnation of Tara Arts will fuse the global and the local, creating an inspirational space for the centre to offer art from the dialogue between East and West to greater audience numbers.
“We are looking forward to working closely with the Tara team and creating a very special space that reflects their vision for the future.”
Tara Arts is a member of the Sustained Theatre network – a UK-wide initiative to ensure minority sustained ethnic theatre practice. The project is being funded principally by Arts Council England and is aimed at securing a dedicated resource in south west London – part of a chain of “Sustained Spaces” across England.
This is the Arts Team’s first project under the new Arts Council England lottery funding programme.
Subject to funding, cconstruction is due to start in spring 2013 and the new building is expected to open in early 2014.
The project team also includes:
Jane Wernick Associates – structures
Atelier 10 – services
Theatreplan – theatre engineering
AECOM Davis Langdon – cost consultancy
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