Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre creates award-winning productions and hosts over 140,000 visitors across an 18-week season.
Over the past six years we have invested significantly in our infrastructure, staff and audiences to secure our future of theatre-making, maintain an outstanding customer experience and, as an organisation which receives no public subsidy, ensure that we best allocate our financial resources whilst finding new streams of income-generation.
Past projects have included a new Box Office and theatre entrance, offices for our team of permanent staff, as well as new dressing room and backstage facilities, renewed public spaces including the bar, summer café and the creation of our highly popular Covered Dining terrace and – for the first time since the 1970s – new auditorium seating.
We had an urgent need to replace our kitchens (currently in temporary cabins which have reached the end of their life), to improve the existing female visitor toilets, find a more effective pre-theatre seating solution for customers, increase undercover storage facilities, and to create additional rehearsal space to meet the demands of our productions.
RECREATE: BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE is our new £3million project which will deliver the solutions to these challenges.
Built in 1999, the theatre’s current kitchens were only ever intended as temporary, and they were in urgent need of replacement. An important source of income to the theatre, our in-house catering team produce all the food for our customers on site, as well as event catering for our corporate supporters. Whilst continuing to deliver exceptionally high standards, the team is heavily restricted in the lack of work space and out-dated amenities.
RECREATE: will deliver a purpose built kitchen with modern facilities and increased capacity, an integrated barbecue service and additional storage with space-saving initiatives. Developing this operation will enhance the exceptional service standards already delivered.
Whilst the existing Robert Atkins Studio on site is occasionally used for rehearsals, the scale of our productions, as well as the demand on the Studio as a Corporate hospitality room, workshop space and for undercover storage, make it largely impractical. It is also not acoustically sealed, so unusable when there are performances on the theatre stage. As a result, we spend a significant sum each season on hiring external rehearsal space.
RECREATE: will provide a new double-height, acoustically sealed studio where we can rehearse all our productions, with an accessible flexible break-out room, tea-room, office and toilets.
As well as providing a first-class facility in which theatre practitioners can create work of excellence, bringing rehearsals on site will nurture working relationships across the venue, and will enable casts to adjust to this unique theatre environment. Outside of our season, it will also offer a much needed rehearsal facility for others in the theatre community.
Additionally, creating this new space will enable us to expand our education programme and increase the number of workshops for younger audiences.
As audiences have increased, so too has the demand on visitor toilets, often with queues forming at the interval.
RECREATE: will re-configure and improve circulation, signage and lighting to ensure facilities are fully utilised, thereby easing congestion.
Landscaping and Seating
Situated within a Grade 1 listed Royal Park, maintenance of the theatre grounds during the season is challenging. Also, the demand for pre-theatre seating on our picnic lawn has increased as those purchasing our catering increases.
RECREATE: will enhance the theatre’s landscape by protecting trees through a new planting scheme. We will also deliver improved access to seating for those purchasing food at the theatre, as well as augmenting pathways and signage for customers.
Funding and Timing
With the exception of landscaping and seating, building work commenced in September 2017 to ensure the Project's completion ahead of the 2018 season. Work on landscaping and seating will start in September 2018.
We are hugely grateful for the support we have already received for this project from individuals, trusts and foundations.
If you would like to make a donation to RECREATE: please follow the link below.