George Wood Theatre, Goldsmiths University


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The former grade II listed chapel of Goldsmiths University of London was designed by John Shaw and built in 1857. After suffering bomb damage in World War II it was later converted into the College teaching theatre in the 1960s, and re-named the George Wood Theatre.

Dannatt, Johnson Architects compre­hensive refur­bishment of this flat floor theatre removed the 1960’s false ceiling, control room, raked seating and projecting stage to restore the full height of the chapel and expose the historic ceiling. 

Two new studios, a black box’ and a white studio’ were inserted one above the other into the stage volume with the main space becoming a flat floor space with retractable seating and tension wire grid lighting gantry above the main performance area. 

Close coordin­ation with interested stake­holders and other parties (statutory, student and staff bodies, College Strategic Management Board, third party users) was key to the project’s success, including monitoring the building environment, user client liaison and feedback after Completion.” Goldsmiths University

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The project provided the opportunity to introduce a role beyond theatre teaching including musical activities and wider educational functions and offers a new venue for evening events to which both local and inter­na­tional visitors, performers and lecturers attend. 

Design work involved sensitive services and structural inter­ven­tions and a conser­vation approach to the remaining historic fabric which celebrates the cultural heritage of the building and provides a unique backdrop for events.

Client: Goldsmiths University

Filed to: Culture and Community, Learning and Workspace, Heritage

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Photo credit: Kevin Moran, Goldsmiths University

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Photo credit: Kevin Moran, Goldsmiths University

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Goldsmiths’ College staff and students from 1933 in front of the former Royal Naval School Chapel before its conversion into a theatre in 1964. Goldsmiths, University of London