Opened in 1905, the Grade II Listed Novello Theatre is in London’s West End. Formerly known as the Strand Theatre, it was renamed in honour of Ivor Novello, who occupied a flat above the theatre from 1913-1951.
We investigated design options for making the existing Theatre stage door entrance and stage door keepers office more secure. The existing stage door keeper is ‘spaced out’ in a sense, confined to a narrow enclosure. Likewise, the stage door entrance is cramped, awkward and in need of interior design to improve Thespian, staff and visitor movement through this space.
Our approach looked very carefully at the current local situation and its wider internal context, also looking outside the realms of architecture. Work-groups were held with the stage door keeper to better understand the stage door programme and understand the unique characteristics of the existing neighbourhood.
Key objectives were improving sight lines and flow of staff, visitors, deliveries and thespians through the space. The designs were to improve the stage door interior quality to equal that of the main spaces while rationalising and making better use of space, as well as more pragmatic provision of additional storage, counter space and kitchenette.
We also developed designs to enhance the theatre bars, which currently do no do the main theatres justice. Some of the windowless bars feel dark, while the larger bars struggle to feel atmospheric. We looked carefully at traditional techniques and tricks used to enhance light quality in theatres and Edwardian bars, as well as modern energy efficient solutions. Layered lighting was proposed to counteract this, alongside removal of retrofitted bright white spotlighting.