BREEAM Very Good performance venue by RHWL Arts Team due to open in Doncaster on Friday
CAST, a new performance venue for Doncaster (UK) designed by RHWL Arts Team for Doncaster Council and Muse Developments, has been completed and is set to open with ‘The Glee Club’ from local Playwright Richard Cameron on Friday 6 September. It adds to the already completed: new public square; civic offices for Doncaster Council; and multi-storey car park, which form the first phase of the £300m programme to develop a civic and cultural quarter for Doncaster.
Located on Sir Nigel Gresley Square in the Waterdale area, the 7,500 sq m arts building includes: a main space, second space, dance space, drama space as well as café/bars and supporting public and back of house facilities.
A 1,200 sq m (12,917 sq ft), 620-seat proscenium arch theatre for drama, comedy, musicals, dance and small scale opera acts as the main venue. The layout is a traditional lyric theatre style, with an orchestra pit, flytower and two levels of seating, all designed for optimum sightline viewing. The overall feel is intimate, formal and luxurious, with an emphasis on beautifully made features and locally-inspired detailing, including hexagonal chandeliers that show a cross section of Doncaster-produced steel ropes and reference to the town’s industrial prowess.
A 615 sq m (6,619 sq ft), 200-seated/300-standing theatre is designed to be a flexible second space for everything from pop and rocks gigs to dance and drama. It has a warehouse/ industrial feel and is a space for experimentation and creativity, with a wraparound balcony and an ‘egg crate’ lighting grid, to allow for creative and unusual lighting designs.
The Education Suite is a 365 sq m (3,929 sq ft) space and is lighter and simpler, containing dance and drama spaces and a meeting space, each with a capacity of 60. The studios are double height, with sprung and semi-sprung floors respectively, while the single height exhibition room opens up into the foyer to create an extra flexible space for events.
Two café/bars in the foyer, opening out directly into the public square will be open during the day as well as for performances. There is also a third café/bar located inside the building. Dressing rooms for 60 people, a stage lift, flexible back of house, offices and administration are also included.
Stewart King, Director at RHWL Arts Team, said: “CAST is a building for everybody. From the start, our aim was to create a venue that would suit a wide range of performers - from drama, comedy, and musical theatre to live music gigs, smaller scale experimental theatre - and host a variety of community and education projects. The venue has been partly inspired by Doncaster’s architecture and urban context but we also wanted to reflect the building’s purpose in its fabric, and connect its interior with the square outside to help make it accessible and welcoming.”