The Quarry Theatre at St Luke’s, Bedford School

Client: The Harpur Trust

Construction Cost: £4.3 million

Year: 2015

RIBA East Awards Winner 2016
Civic Trust Awards Regional Finalist 2016
RICS East of England: Community Benefit Awards Winner 2016

The Quarry Theatre at St Luke’s has been created from a redundant Moravian church and Minister’s House to create a new performing arts centre for Bedford School and the local community, combining the best of the old and the new to provide a beneficial use for an important Grade II listed building. The front of the church faces onto St Peter’s Street, in the town centre, while the land at the rear adjoins the School site.

The church has been converted into a 300 seat galleried courtyard theatre, and the Minister’s House restored to provide front of house facilities, offices and a studio, with the addition of a new foyer and backstage extension at the rear. The new foyer wraps around the semi-circular wall to the original chancel and a curved wall of glass provides views over the secluded gardens of the old churchyard. The theatre is a flat-floored flexible space, created by inserting a new steel structure within the volume of the existing church, which allows the existing interior to read through. The existing balcony has been re-tiered and two levels of new galleries have been inserted at the sides, together with high-level suspensions for scenery and stage lighting.