A low carbon theatre at the heart of Oldhams new cultural centre
The theatre sets a new building between two heritage buildings in Oldham town centre – a former post office building (Grade II listed) and a former Friends Meeting House.
The new-build aspect is a predominantly timber structure that houses the main auditorium, linking to the existing buildings which house a studio theatre, education space and back-of-house facilities. A triple-height front-of-house foyer opens to the Town’s main thoroughfare of Union Street with an additional entrance connecting into Oldham Civic Gardens.
The foyer is a light-filled, uplifting, and welcoming space with the uppermost floor acting as a shop window to workshop spaces with mannequins and props visible. The exposed engineered timber structure introduces a warmth to the space with activity spread through all areas and levels.
Setting the stage for low carbon performing arts
The reuse and retrofit of the buildings, along with the timber structure of the new build keeps the embodied carbon impact of the theatre to an absolute minimum. The building has been designed as a fully electrically powered facility and will include some onsite power generation, ambitious building fabric, and will meet thermal and airtightness performance targets to support a reduced energy demand. The resulting design has the potential to be a national exemplar performing arts building project
The theatre is at the heart of the regeneration of Oldham Town Centre, redefining the town for the future, boosting its cultural offer and bringing jobs into the area.
At the rear of the site, the new Civic Gardens act as a stage backdrop to life inside the building. A proscenium arch feature window looks on the gardens from the foyer, and at lower ground level a secondary entrance opens into the gardens.