Pride in theatre refurbishment project


Robert Keeble and Stuart Edgar from the conservation team at KLH Architects recall their work refurbishing Ipswich’s Regent Theatre.

All historic buildings need a certain amount of care and attention to maintain them and allow them to thrive for future generations and the Regent Theatre in Ipswich was one of these.

Built in 1929, the Art Deco cinema and theatre has a double auditorium, balcony, boxes and stage, and was given Grade II listed building status in 2000. But the original decorative plasterwork to both the foyer and the ornate vestibule, called the Crush Hall, had been damaged by unsympathetic building alterations made between the 1950s-70s.

Our role involved the internal refurbishment of the foyer and crush hall and, as part of this, the sensitive re-instatement of this ornate plaster ceiling. We also installed a new air management system to the main auditorium. The repair works have been well received by the owners and the general public.

This next phase of this project – for which we have been appointed the conservation architects – will see other aspects of the crush hall returned to their former glory.

To do this we will be removing further additions made post-1950’s including offices, WCs, bar and kiosk, and reintroduce the bar and seating area. Modern toilets and office accommodation will be added in a new extension.

The foyer will also have ceiling restoration works completed and we are currently looking at bar and box office re-design to return the foyer to a single open room, removing unsympathetic partitions and alterations made prior to the Grade II listing.