STARTING WITH A BLANK SLATE
by Park Theatre
One of the delights of building a theatre is working from a blank slate. Unlike most capital theatre projects, Park Theatre will not house a company with a previous history: there is no audience to keep and no style to accommodate. Clearly the choice of site influences the size and shape of the auditoria, but at every turn there are small decisions that will affect the Park Theatre experience for actors and audience alike. Many of the decisions are practical, but I've found the last few months creatively stimulating in various exciting ways.
When you start to break down the theatre experience, you become very aware of its ritual components, many of which we take for granted; they're often so ingrained into the status quo that nobody has ever considered changing them. There's a small example of this in today's Guardian Stage Blog, where Lyn Gardner has used Park Theatre as a beacon for open accounting in emerging companies:
We're not inventing transparency, but we're allying the policy on accounting for visiting companies to the ethos of the building as a whole. It's a small step, but perhaps other venues will respond, and before long that too will become part of the status quo. There are a number of other discussions up in the air about how Park Theatre might do things differently: if you were creating your dream theatre, how would it stand out from the crowd?