The Bloomsbury Theatre was opened in 1968 as a home for student and university produced theatre at UCL. The theatre was able to fulfil this purpose for close to 50 years, before it was closed in 2015 for essential maintenance work after a number of legacy issues begun limiting the operation of the building.
In early 2016 a plan was agreed on to refurbish the theatre auditorium along with the backstage, workshop and front of house areas, to bring it up to a modern standard.
The refurbishment will see:
· The total replacement and upgrading of the theatre's technical infrastructure - bringing much of it from 1960s install to modern-day standards.
· A new auditorium featuring improved stage lighting and audio visual systems to enhance performances and giving performers the ability to customize the theatre and studio.
· Better acoustics in the auditorium improved through new insulation.
· For the first time, cooling will be provided
The refurbishment will also include improved accessibility in line with wider UCL policies and standards. Providing more wheelchair spaces and lift access for audiences as well as improved access for performers the theatre will be inclusive to more people than ever before.
The development is on track to achieve SKA Gold, in line with the SKA HE standards for sustainability. There will be an emphasis on sustainable materials and energy efficient systems, which will see a dramatic decrease in energy costs when the theatre is back in use.
The newly refurbished theatre aims to "bring London in", not only as an audience, but as users of the theatre and studio spaces. The full benefits of a 21st century theatre will create opportunities for collaboration between academics, artists, performers, directors and companies inside and outside UCL's diverse community.
Inclusion and Access
The Bloomsbury Theatre will look to encourage users from outside UCL to come and experience the space alongside our staff and students. To ensure every person feels welcome, we have included a number of inclusive and accessible features.
- Wheelchair spaces on upper as well as lower levels of the auditorium
- Accessible Studio space and back of house facilities for use by staff, students and other performers
- Accessible stage / performance spaces
- Lift access improved where possible in existing concrete structure