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Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury, United Kingdom

Wednesday 12 Oct 2011

Royal opening for Marlowe Theatre

All images: Hélène Binet 
Your comments on this project

No. of Comments: 3

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17/10/12 Ann, Canterbury
This looks as though it was designed 'off the shelf' in an office by someone who had never visited Canterbury.
It is completely out of sympathy with the surrounding red-brick georgian and older houses, it looks cold & feels unfriendly when you enter it.
Compare the Cathedral Lodge at Canterbury Cathedral - sympathetic, warm , lots of wood..........what a missed opportunity!
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12/11/11 Keith Reddy, Aylesford
The design of this theatre leaves a lot to be desired from a veteran of three other theatre designs and an "award winning" architect.

As a theatre goer I look for two things in a theatre. A clear view of the stage and a comfortable seat, and having attended the production of "Top Hat" last night I enjoyed neither.

The design of the slip seating and boxes is appalling, with seats D6&7 where my wife and I were imprisoned being horribly restricted and losing 25% of the stage from view, I have to say the seating detracted from what otherwise was a great show.

I also have considerable concerns about the safety of the people in the upper circle slips, as there is one exit only and bearing in mind the time it took us to get down the stairs into the foyer, I was glad there wasn't a fire.

I cannot understand how when starting from a clean sheet, an architect can get it so wrong.
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10/11/11 Mrs C Dawson, Sittingbourne
for a theatre this would make a good airport terminal. School hall table and chairs in the restaurant.The circle tier E5 and E6 was so cold and draughty we had to sit with thick coats on for the whole performance of a superb show.
I dread to think of the pantomine with children climbing and falling over the
rails on the circle tiers. Oh for some bench seats or padded chairs in the public areas.
How can Canterbury Council be so greedy with the parking charges-pre new
theatre 6.15pm =£1.00 charge. Now charge £3.00.
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Keith Williams' €29.5m new Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury opened by HRH Prince Edward 

At a gala concert before an audience of 1,200, the new Marlowe Theatre was formally opened on 4th October 2011 by HRH Prince Edward accompanied by the Countess of Wessex.

This sculptural new cultural building for Canterbury City Council, has been created by Keith Williams Architects in the ancient city’s historic heart. Named after Christopher Marlowe, Canterbury’s celebrated 16th century playwright, the Theatre stands by the River Stour, opposite the Cathedral’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The 4,850 sq m building is in formal terms, a complex pavilion. Its composition is ordered by an 8m high colonnade in white cast Dolomite stone, which sets up a civic order to the main facade whilst mediating between the historic fine grain street scale and the larger volumes of auditorium and flytower.

The flytower is shaped to form a sculptural pinnacle facing toward the Cathedral, adding accent and silhouette to the city’s skyline. Clad in a stainless steel mesh skin, its surfaces shimmer and sheen with the changing hues of sky.

The foyer connects all main spaces to the principal auditorium. Lined in black American walnut with seating in red/orange leather, it accommodates an audience of 1,200 on 3 levels.

The Marlowe Studio, the focus of youth theatre and experimental theatrical work, is a flexible format theatre seating 150. Placed 6m above the foyer it sets up links to the riverside terraces, and views toward the Cathedral.

The Marlowe is Keith Williams’ fourth realised theatre project after The Birmingham Rep, The Unicorn Theatre and Wexford Opera House, cementing his reputation as one of the foremost designers of performing arts buildings anywhere.

Keith Williams commented: “The Marlowe is that very rare thing - a major new contemporary theatre building within a magnificent historic cathedral city.” The project was completed to time and budget by contractors ISG Jackson

Key Facts

Status Completed
Value 0(m€)
Were you involved in this scheme?
Keith Williams Architects

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