Halliday Clark have worked with the Theatre Royal Wakefield for a number of years as Architects and Lead Consultant providing full RIBA services to assist the theatre through a series of funding processes, planning and then finally the construction stage of ‘The Centre for Creativity’. Audience development was a key strategic element to the theatre’s aspirations for the future so with this in mind, it was felt that engaging with young people should be the principal focus.
The combination of sensitive refurbishment within the existing grade II listed building and a high-quality contemporary extension has allowed the theatre to become a ‘beacon’ of cultural activity in Wakefield. A simple high-quality material palette of glass and cor-ten was used, allowing passers-by to view deep into the building and witness the movement of performer’s within. A recess in the front elevation was designed to show the subservient nature of the extension against the listed building, with the proportions of the new cladding directly relating to the detail within the Matcham elevation.
The theatre regularly engages with vulnerable groups and individuals and the new facility has been designed to promote and develop this connection further. This includes programmes for people facing social isolation through the Yorkshire Health Charity, local Age UK groups, and a local senior citizens support group. The theatre also engages with people challenged with improving their mental health and well-being through bereavement groups.
The new Centre for Creativity is a much-needed addition to the cityscape and provides momentum for further redevelopment. The building has won ‘best new development’ at Wakefield’s Civic Society Awards adding to the cultural heart of Wakefield and West Yorkshire, accessible to the whole community.
ClientTheatre Royal Wakefield