Playhouse Theatre, London - Kit Kat Club

An exceptional theatre transformation for the multi-award-winning production of Cabaret at the Playhouse Theatre's fictional Kit Kat Club, all within a rapid timescale. 

Skelly & Couch led environmental engineering for the transformation of London’s proscenium-arch Grade II-listed Playhouse Theatre auditorium into a spectacular in-the-round space, while also creating additional rooms within the upper circle level.

Designed specifically around the exciting new production of Cabaret, this radical intervention brought to life the intimate ambience of the fictional Kit Kat Club, drawing audiences into the decadent world of 1930s Berlin.

Skelly & Couch and the rest of the design team played out their high-calibre work in record time with the design and construction period involving the removal and reconfiguration of the entire auditorium. After listed building consent and planning approval secured in mid-July 2021, the opening night came only five months later with the set receiving rapturous acclaim. 

As well as the demanding timeframe, the complexity of the existing services presented another key challenge. 

Skelly & Couch’s contribution encompassed:

  • Reworking the basement back-of-house spaces and associated services

  • Replacing and upgrading heating/cooling/ventilation services

  • Reworking electrical/lighting/alarm/comms services to suit new layouts.

‘Eddie Redmayne may be the star — and he’s mesmerisingly good too — but he really shares top billing with the venue itself.’
Clive Davis, The Times

The production of Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club won no fewer than seven Olivier Awards 2022.

Nominated for Theatre Building of the Year in The Stage Awards 2023. 

*Winner in the 2023 Civic Trust Awards (Pro-Tem Award).* Civic Trust Pro-Tem Awards recognise temporary structures and installations that make an outstanding contribution to the quality and appearance of the built environment.

Winner of a 2023 RIBA London architecture award. The RIBA judges commented: "The Kit Kat Club is a great example of how critical, light-touch interventions can transform an existing building. The key aspect of sustainability was in relation to the consideration given to the demountability of the new interventions. In addition, materials were salvaged and reused where possible, including the timber for the main set from original flooring, as well as some of the loose furniture." See the full citation:

Winner of a 2023 RIBA National Award.