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Arup Designs Acoustics for National Theatre’s new Dorfman Theatre

UK - The Dorfman Theatre has opened as part of the £80m redevelopment of the National Theatre in London.

Arup provided acoustic consultancy services throughout the design and construction of the project. The team also worked on the acoustics for the theatre, improvements to existing foyers, new editing rooms, education spaces and throughout the new workshop areas.

The renovations included opening up the existing theatre and adding a large amount of seating; however, the added space and audience would affect the acoustics of the space. As it was imperative the quality of the sound needed to remain the same as it did pre-modification, Arup’s designs focused on sound absorption to counteract the new addition of space and make the acoustics reflect their original characteristics.

This refurbishment programme was delivered while the building remained in operation and was open to the public, with up to three productions being showcased at the same time. Helen Butcher, project manager at Arup, commented on the work and said:

"Working on the acoustics of such an iconic London building such as the National brings its own unique challenges. Listed buildings present a number of practical limitations but our extensive experience of implementing project in the Arts & Culture arena means that we were able to deliver and ensure the highest-quality sound in all performance and new spaces."

Arup also designed the acoustics for the National Theatre’s Temporary Theatre, formerly The Shed, which was designed and built in just over one year to provide a third stage during the Dorfman Theatre's closure for refurbishment as part of the NT Future building project. It was initially planned for The Temporary Theatre to be open for 18 months but following its success its life has been extended until spring 2017.

The final stage of the National Theatre redevelopment works is the refurbishment of the foyers includes new café and bar areas and is due for completion early 2015.

6th November 2014

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