Forty years ago, Theatre Projects celebrated the opening of what would become one of the most highly regarded theatre complexes in the world—a facility that would launch Theatre Projects into the company it is today. The National Theatre of Great Britain’s Lasdun Building and the three theatres within the facility—the Olivier, the Cottesloe (now known as the Dorfman), and the Lyttelton—would influence the design of theatres around the world, just as the works staged in those theatres, would influence countless productions.In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the building’s opening, the Association of British Theatre Technicians, in association with the National Theatre, will host a symposium looking back at the groundbreaking changes that have emerged from the remarkable facility. Theatre professionals, architects, and consultants will attend talks and discussions on the revolutions in theatrical content, equipment technologies, and audience expectation—as well as in the physical form of theatres—that the National, its venues, and the incredible works staged within them, have given rise to.
Richard Pilbrow, Theatre Projects’ founder, will co-direct the one-day event titled SYMPOSIUM: The National Theatre: A Place for Plays, which will take place on October 30 from 9:30 am to 8 pm in the National’s Olivier Theatre. The symposium will feature four panel discussions addressing topics such as changes to theatre architecture over the last 40 years, the wide-ranging influence of the National Theatre, architectural trends of the last half century, the evolution of theatre technology, and the changing nature of the theatergoing experience. Along these and other subjects, the symposium will include tours of the Cottesloe Theatre and a demonstration of the Olivier Theatre’s Drum Revolve.
One of the day’s most anticipated discussions—a panel titled A Framework for Freedom—will look at the history and impact of the smallest, though arguably most groundbreaking, venue in the building—the Cottesloe Theatre. One of the first performance spaces designed by Theatre Projects, the flexible Cottesloe Theatre is credited in part with reviving the form of the courtyard theatre and through its success, affecting the look of theatres across the world. In the wake of the Cottesloe Theatre, audiences, theatre owners, and performers alike came to value above all other design elements, the intimacy between audience and performer, as the fundamental key to dynamic and memorable theatre.
Theatre Projects is a sponsor of the symposium, which will include our own David Staples speaking on the panel, Changing Theatres and Theatre Design, and Theatre Projects alumnus, Iain Mackintosh, will join the panel A Framework for Freedom, led by Richard.
Tickets are still available and are offered at a discount to ABTT members. Tickets to a post-symposium celebration are at also available, along with more symposium information at: http://www.abtt.org.uk/event/symposium-the-national-theatre-a-place-for-plays/