Description: Nottingham Playhouse
Date Listed: 14 July 1994
English Heritage Building ID: 459064
OS Grid Reference: SK5679639939
OS Grid Coordinates: 456796, 339939
Latitude/Longitude: 52.9538, -1.1560
There is also a scheduled monument, Medieval city wall, at the same location as this building or very close to it. This may be related in some way or possibly a different name for the same structure.
SK5639NE WELLINGTON CIRCUS
646-1/19/824 (South East side)
14/07/94 Nottingham Playhouse
Repertory theatre. 1961-3. By Peter Moro. Reinforced concrete.
A square plan with a 2-storey foyer to Wellington Circus,
which drops sharply with the fall of the hill to the rear to
allow backstage workshops and dressing room space. Projecting
arm to left contains rehearsal room, and bars and restaurants
held by separate lessees and not of special interest. From
within this square body rises the circular auditorium with
stalls and a single circle, and behind it a higher flytower.
EXTERIOR: glazed ground floor with above it the first floor
treated as a low, horizontal band, chequer-patterned with
opaque white panels and dark glazing - the pattern of light
and dark is reversed at night. The effect serves to entice one
into the interior. Foyer with open tread staircases and a
balcony following the perimeter of the square outside walls;
the round drum of the auditorium is largely left free, save
for a sculpture by Geofrey Clarke. Circular auditorium clad
with black timber treated as a series of vertical slats that
continues the theme of the exterior whilst serving also as a
covering for extra wiring or lighting. Proscenium-arch stage
is adaptable as apron or thrust stage which can be raised over
the orchestra pit and the front stalls; the surrounding row of
seats can be adjusted round this altered form; a novelty in
1963. A circular grid serves this apron stage whilst
contributing to the architectural form of the interior.
HISTORICAL NOTE: the Nottingham Playhouse was the first
theatre in England to break away from the conventional
proscenium stage. It marks the beginning of a new and
extremely successful period for the British theatre.
Stylistically it is a crucial link between the Royal Festival
Hall and the Royal National Theatre whilst standing as the
supreme example of the new and successful wave of repertory
theatres built outside London.
(Interbuild : July 1959: 38-40; Architect's Journal : 2 Sep
1959: 209-10; Architect's Journal : 1 Jan 1964: 27-44;
Architect and Building News : 11 Dec & 18 Dec 1963; Concrete
Quarterly : October 1964: 2-5).
Listing NGR: SK5679639939
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.