Theatre Royal Drury Lane

The Grade I-listed Theatre Royal Drury Lane, owned and managed by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s LW Theatres and built originally in 1812, is on track to regain its status as the prime venue for musical theatre in London.

The refurbishment will restore the public areas of the theatre to their former glory, reducing the number of seats in the auditorium from 2,200 to 2,000 for wider seats and extra legroom, while replacing all services in the existing, Back Stage, Stage House and Front of House and creating a new restaurant, offices and multifunctional public spaces. The front of house will be more spacious and have improved circulation. Disabled access will improve by installing ramps and lifts on every level of the auditorium.

Skelly & Couch’s services included all the survey works, which were carried out whilst the building was still in use, with opening up works having to be repaired to the conservation officer’s approval before the matinee performance. The building will include London’s only 1.5MW basement substation, and we have been working closely with UKPN to develop unique design details and requirements. All lighting will be replaced with LEDs. There will be a major intervention to the auditorium ventilation installation, with a large shaft being routed through the existing fabric to improve air distribution, reduce draughts and a 40% improvement to the efficiency of the system.

The challenge on this project has been to integrate all of the complex services associated with a modern day theatre within the listed fabric and a number of bespoke containment and ductwork details and products had to be developed specifically for the project. Pre-insulated pipework has been used to reduce the need for opening up in some areas and service trenches used in other areas.

The project is being delivered on a condensed construction programme to minimise the closure time of this highly profitable performance venue. The project is currently 6 months into an 18 month construction phase (and the MEP elements are on programme). The project was designed in BIM.