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Places for Performance: New Directions
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Gary Sparkes+442079280000

Charcoalblue is the world’s most exciting theatre, acoustics and digital design consultancy. We design innovative spaces for venues, schools, universities, workplaces and anywhere great stories are told. Founded in 2004, we have grown to a team of more than seventy working across six international studios in London, Bristol, Glasgow, New York, Chicago and Melbourne.

As the theatre consultants, acousticians and digital designers of choice for many of the world’s leading architects, arts organisations and businesses, our UK portfolio includes several theatres for the Royal Shakespeare Company, two theatres for the National Theatre, Facebook’s new UK hub, the recently completed Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and the forthcoming home for the London Symphony Orchestra – the Centre for Music. Our North American projects include the Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center in New York and two theatres in Chicago - one for Steppenwolf Theatre Company and The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. In Australasia we are working with the esteemed Sydney Theatre Company as well as designing a new Waikato Regional Theatre in New Zealand.

Cutting-edge collaborations with notable organisations such as London’s Graeae, TheatreSquared in Arkansas and St. Ann’s Warehouse in New York demonstrate our unique, collaborative approach, our commitment to innovation and a relentless attention to detail. We remain grounded in theatrical practice and the art of storytelling which informs all of our work big or small, new-build or refurbishment.


Queen Elisabeth Hall Antwerp, Belgium

The Queen Elisabeth Hall in Antwerp has completed an ambitious re-building project which included the insertion of a flexible 1,961-seat concert hall. We assisting SimpsonHaugh Architects on the design of the principal room, advised on the general planning of the building and surrounding conference centre and designed the theatrical technical systems.


Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Birmingham, UK

Charcoalblue worked with Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and design team to develop auditorium and stage engineering designs for the performance spaces at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. This includes the 500-seat concert hall, 146-seat recital hall with retractable seating system, 80-seat jazz studio and 100-seat black box experimental project space.


Storyhouse Chester, UK

Charcoalblue collaborated with Bennetts Architects on Storyhouse, a new arts complex and the largest public building in Chester. Storyhouse brings a theatre and cinema back to the city after 10 years. Charcoalblue provided full theatre consultancy services, leading the design of the performance spaces and designs for the technical systems.


The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare Theater Chicago, IL, USA

Chicago Shakespeare Theater has added a new multi-format venue, The Yard. The auditorium utilises nine four-story-tall moveable seating towers to create twelve different stage formats seating between 150 and 850. Charcoalblue, working with Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architecture and managed the auditorium design and its construction, the technical theatre systems and acoustic design.

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