About the Institute of Theatre Consultants

The Society was formed in 1964 to create a professional body to bring together those working in the emerging field of Theatre Consultancy. It set out to identify those whose skill and experience would ensure that the Client would be well advised and to link these practitioners through an agreed Code of Conduct and Scale of Fees. The Office of Fair Trading required the Society to abandon the Scale of Fees in 1984 as part of the enforcement of competitive trading legislation. The Code of Conduct remains an important protection for the Client and support for the Theatre Consultant. In 2016 the Society moved to become the Institute of Theatre Consultants.

The foundation meeting of the Society recognized the great width of the services which a Theatre Consultant might offer. It follows, therefore, that the Institute needs to have a record of the individual Member’s skills and specialist interests. Generally, Theatre Consultants group together to form practices which can call on a range of individuals’ ability to offer the client a full Theatre Consultancy service. Membership of the Institute is individual and election is by peer - a recognition of accomplishment and merit in Theatre Consultancy. A Master of Arts degree qualification in Theatre Consultancy is offered by the Institute through the University of Warwick.

As the profession - and the number of projects - is modest in scale Members of the Institute will usually have a working knowledge of the reputation and ability of potential applicants. The original application form for Membership concentrated on providing information to allow the Institute to confirm through the client that the consultant had performed a useful and contributive service to the realization of the project. In recent years new members have tended to come from established Theatre Consultancy practices where they have received training and experience in the field and where existing Members of the Institute will have a thorough knowledge of the work of the applicant. The new application form moves towards nomination for election of established practitioners, the form is shorter and relies less on client verification (though this will be required where the work of the applicant is less well known to the Institute).

Increasingly, the Institute seeks to encourage peer group review and discussion of projects as part of an increasingly professional approach to Theatre Consultancy.  Design in the construction industry environment is usually a matter of compromise between budget and cost; flexibility and suitability; design desire and practical buildability. Peer review helps practitioners to understand how specific design decisions were made, giving Members a wider palette of experience to draw on for their own work. As the range of Theatre Consultancy services is so wide the Institute also encourages Continuing Professional Development, both directly in considering completed theatres but also in related topics (for example: industrial mechanical handling; architectural lighting; AV presentation; building and site development).

The Institute is holds conferences and symposia where the complexity of the theatre design and the interaction of performer and audience can be explored, where new mechanical and electronic advances can be assimilated into the theatre and to advance the art and science of Theatre Consultancy.