Services for Architects

Are you planning to be involved in the building or refurbishment of a theatre?
A theatre, or other building for performances, is one of the most exciting of all projects for an architect to work on. It is invariably of a unique design, and often has an exceptionally high profile.

At the same time, it is one of the most complex of all buildings, and work on such a major enterprise requires an extraordinary diversity of input – far greater than that for an ordinary commercial building. Clients are usually unskilled in the building process and have imprecise and often unvoiced requirements in forming a brief. The new building will become an important community place and needs to reflect its community needs. Theatre design and construction requires management of not just engineers and building contractors, but also specialist sub-contractors for stage engineering, production lighting, sound and audio-visual systems.

How can so many disparate elements be melded into an effective team?

You, as an architect, will naturally co-ordinate the work of the building contractor and the design team to suit the client’s requirements, but then the specific needs of a far wider range of interested parties must be taken into account. As well as that variety of specialists, these include the end users of the building – both those who work in it and those who visit.

The differing requirements of opera, dance, concert and theatre companies and their audiences, conference and exhibition organisers and their delegates and visitors, must all be understood in terms of how they affect the building. There is the need to know at what stages these requirements are best incorporated into the planning and construction processes.

Furthermore, a theatre being a rare building type, it is vital to the success of the project that the various contractors have experience, expertise and abilities that are both relevant to the project itself and are complementary to those of the other contractors involved.

The expectations of a theatre client are that changes can be made in the building almost until opening day, for that is the experience of the theatre, whilst the builder needs a long term plan and certainty.  The builder needs to understand that the tool that is the theatre building needs to be honed with structure and services in the right places. The theatre consultant knows both worlds intimately and can help the design team understand both – interpreting theatre to the design team and builder and the building process to the theatre.

What’s needed is a qualified consultant with the relevant knowledge, plus the ability to help you perform an incredibly delicate balancing act …

Enter the Institute of Theatre Consultants
An IoTC theatre consultant has professionally qualified experience that gives him or her a unique overarching perspective that encompasses both the performing industries and the building industry. The Institute was founded more than 50 years ago, and its members include leading practitioners in the field.

What next?