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Regents Park Open Air Theatre

Client: New Shakespeare Company

Location: Regents Park, London

Cost: £2m

Project Type: Heritage & Culture

Clutter and overgrowth had begun to mar the magic of the performances of the New Shakespeare Company, who had inhabited and adapted this corner of Regent’s Park for most of a century. In a seamless collaboration, the practice and Haworth Tompkins wove a new costume for the theatre in which vegetation becomes architecture and buildings grow as living things. Where the stimulation of a performance was once counteracted by the experience of going home through the car park, a new picnic lawn now ‘amplifies’ the memory and releases it to the night.

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The second phase of the scheme continues to respond to the woodland in which the theatre has made its home, with a new box office / entrance and rehearsal rooms glimpsing through the leafy backdrop and projecting the presence of the theatre into Regent’s Park. Although regular audiences are pleasantly startled by the changes, the most telling sign of success is that newcomers enter a timeless world that seems to have been there forever.