Burrell Foley Fischer were commissioned by the Godolphin & Latymer School to convert the large Grade II* listed redundant church, adjacent to the school site, into a multipurpose performance space. Uses would include drama performances, musicals, concerts, assemblies, examinations, teaching and parents’ evenings. The church is a lofty gothic revival building designed by William Butterfield and completed in 1859. Originally built for a large 19th century congregation, the space can accommodate the whole of the 805-person school community for assemblies – a great advantage for the school that previously had had to communicate via video to staff and students distributed about the school in assorted small halls.
The many uses of the church required extensive service and technical infrastructure. New equipment for lighting, scenery and sound has been discreetly introduced to preserve the architectural drama of the original Butterfield interior and will allow the space to be transformed for performances. A stage riser and variable height staging units are let into the nave floor to allow a number of different theatrical configurations and to encourage creative staging. Acoustic measures to vary the lively, over-reverberant church acoustic include retractable blinds and drapes. Scenery and lighting bars can be flown up to the rafters. Theatrical balconies have been inserted into the side aisles – an intervention which is both practical and symbolic of the transformation of the church.