Design groups audition for new London theatre

A raft of design work on the completion of London’s newest theatre, a £4m project in Kingston-upon-Thames, should be up for grabs by this autumn. Building work on the as yet unnamed theatre is due to start in 2002 or 2003. Any decision on whether design work, including interiors, branding and signage, w ill be given to outside consultancies will be taken in September, confirms Michael Holden, senior partner of project management and theatre consultancy Michael Holden Associates. “If we decide to take work out of house – and it’s possible that we won’t – we will not advertise for consultancies to tender. It is more likely that we would put together a list of consultancies on the basis of recommendations by the Kingston Theatre Trust,” says Holden. The trust needs to raise £4m to guarantee the building of the theatre, the shell of which is being constructed by developer St Georges in a deal struck with Kingston council that involves a preliminary loan of £900 000 to get the project started. The venue will house two main theatres and a rehearsal room. It is expected to have a capacity of 1200 seats. There are also plans for a restaurant, café and art gallery. The theatre hopes to become a receiving house for touring productions, as well as producing shows itself.

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