architect_ Haworth Tompkins
location_ Bath, United Kingdom
project year_2005
photography_ Philip Veale

contractor_ Emerys of Bath

client_ Theatre Royal Bath
construction cost_ £2.3M
structural engineer_ Buro Happold
acoustic engineer_ Fleming & Barron
lighting consultant_ Patrick Woodroffe Lighting Design
theatre consultant_ Anne Minors Performance Consultants
from the architects_

The Theatre Royal Bath commissioned Haworth Tompkins to design a 120-seat flexible performing space as a second auditorium within a Grade II listed Victorian building, formerly used as a cinema. The Theatre Royal proposed to use the new space for a young people’s theatre, and the consultant team included children and young people who were involved in briefing and developing the design from the very beginning.

A key aim of the project was to achieve a high degree of flexibility without sacrificing a specific sense of place. Since previous conversions had obliterated the original interior, it was proposed to leave only the external walls of the building, inserting a tightly fitting elliptical auditorium into the rectangular shell of crumbling Bath stone. An innovative structural solution was developed to avoid the existing building’s foundations, and this informed the egg-shaped auditorium which has given the theatre its name.

The scale of all the spaces at the Egg is tiny and intimate, creating secret meeting places and vantage points in unexpected places. The main circulation winds from a street level cafe up an old light well, crossing and re-crossing the stone walls to culminate in a rooftop rehearsal space.

Courtesy of Haworth Tompkins.