Stage is set for architects with designs on Hertford Theatre

Architects have been appointed by East Herts Council as the scene is set for one of the most exciting performances to be hosted by Hertford Theatre – its £13.5m expansion over the next three years.

Bennetts Associates were appointed by the council after a comprehensive tender process that attracted bids from across Europe. They are design leaders in their field, having worked on Storyhouse in Chester, RSC in Stratford, Hampstead Theatre and Kings Theatre, Edinburgh.

The investment by the council includes:

  • Three bespoke cinema screens allowing screenings of newly released films
  • More seats in the main auditorium and a new 150-seat studio
  • A relaxing and open public plaza-style setting
  • An improved riverside café-bar for theatre visitors and people enjoying the park.

Bennetts Associates will develop a design and costings which is scheduled to be submitted for planning permission later next year. But before that happens, there will be a full programme of opportunities for people to comment on the proposals.

Consultation will focus on:

  • Theatre staff, volunteers and key users
  • General public, theatre goers and Hertford residents
  • Hertford district, town and county councillors
  • Interested parties such as the Arts Council, Hertford Civic Society, Hertford Choral Society, Hertfordshire Building Preservation Trust and Hertfordshire Garden Trust.

Eric Buckmaster, executive member for wellbeing, said,

“I’m delighted that we have appointed a leader in the field, Bennetts Architects, who will be working with us on our wide-reaching ideas for Hertford Theatre.”

“The theatre has become a cultural and social hub for the town and this project will build on that position, ensuring that it remains exciting and relevant for its growing audience.”

“It will also allow it to continue as a major draw for visitors from out of town who love theatre, film and live performances, bringing benefits to the wider economy as well.”

Simon Erridge, director at Bennetts Associates, said,

“We’re really looking forward to working with the team at East Herts, and also engaging with the people of Hertford as we develop our design proposals in the coming months.”

“The beautiful riverside site will be transformed to create a new building which will become the social and cultural heart of the town. We recognise the significance of this project, and the enormous potential for it to make a positive impact on the identity of the town and the wellbeing of its communities.”