Harold Pinter Theatre
The Comedy Theatre in London's West End was renamed the Harold Pinter Theatre in 2011, in honour of the late playwright, director and actor, who had declared it his favourite theatre.
Built in 1881, it was one of the last hemp houses in London, so named for the manila hemp rope that was once common in theatrical rigging. Beautifully decorated in the late Victorian Arts and Crafts style, the Grade II listed auditorium is split over four levels, creating a uniquely intimate feel.
Theatreplan was commissioned by the theatre’s owners, Ambassador Theatre Group, to undertake a survey of the listed stage machinery and produce a Heritage Report, which was commended for its high level of detail, by the Theatres Trust.
The theatre required a new support arrangement capable of taking greater loads and providing mechanised flying in the form of a double purchase counterweight system. The design was highly complex because of six original drums and shaft flying mechanisms above the grid which English Heritage and the City of Westminster, required to be retained.
Theatreplan’s report meant Listed Building consent could be obtained to move four sets of drums and shafts to an offstage location and to dispose of the remaining sets. Additionally, consent was given to remove a downstage bridge at fly gallery level and replace it with one on the back wall of the stage, thus clearing an important section of the grid for flying.
Theatreplan supervised the building works onstage during a tight six week dark period, completing the works on time so that the next production could open as planned. The project ensured that an extraordinary, historic theatre could continue to thrive, able to cope with the demands of 21st century productions.
Ambassador Theatre Group