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October 22, 2018
Arts & Culture

Theatres Trust Conference 2018

Arts & Culture

Theatres Trust Conference 2018

Colleagues Eamon McGarrigle and Nicola Walls recently attended the Theatres Trust Conference 2018 on the theme of ‘adapt and thrive’.

Held in the Lyric Hammersmith, the full day including case study presentations from venues of all scales – from the massive OMA’s Factory in Manchester through to more modest projects. Highlights of the day included an enjoyable session with Sir Cameron Mackintosh in conversation with Samira Ahmed, and Lord Andrew Mawson speaking eloquently about adopting a more hands on and grass roots approach to making things happen. Both presented an optimistic and entrepreneurial spirit that is vital in these days of reduced subsidy and general uncertainty.

There are many common issues faced by all in the cultural sector and organisations must become more agile to respond to changing circumstances. For ourselves as architects the question is how to ensure that the spaces we design can offer flexibility without comprising functionality, and how to create interesting spaces with limited financial resource, and make sure these spaces are welcoming to all.

Another common theme of the day was exploiting the heritage asset of your theatre building, usually by stripping back incongruous layers to reveal the original historic core.

A mental shift from organisations having a reliance on public subsidy to that of promoting investment in cultural venues, whilst also embracing the commercial imperative, is necessary.

This was clearly reflected in the number of projects where the appointment of a catering consultant happened earlier than selecting their architect.

Eamon and Nicola took away a broader view on how the sector is approaching these challenges. And the discussions on the day feed directly into our current work with Leeds Playhouse, Symphony Hall Birmingham and Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds.

Explore our website for more details on these projects.