Arts, Education

Parabola Arts Centre

The new theatre for Cheltenham Ladies' College has been created by linking a new auditorium
to arts and teaching facilities contained within a pair of Grade II* listed Regency Villas.

The 325 seat theatre provides an intimate venue for drama and music in a space with
exceptional acoustics and teaching facilities for both acting and theatre technical studies. The
theatre includes a number of sustainable features including full natural ventilation and the
controlled use of daylight within the auditorium for daytime use.

Around the site, new landscaping has removed existing car parking and reinstated the original 19th century garden layout with perimeter hedging and carriage drive. The project involved
careful negotiations with the conservation authorities and local residents to provide a scheme that is sympathetic to the listed building and the Conservation Area in which it stands. The design involves a carefully detailed curved facade of bath stone to the new auditorium that sits at the same height as the adjacent villas

English Heritage selected the project as an exemplar scheme for their ‘Constructive Conservation in Practice’ published in 2008. As well as being used by the College, the new theatre also hosts a range of external arts events and is a key venue of the Cheltenham Festival.

  • ClientThe Cheltenham Ladies’ College
  • LocationCheltenham
  • USITT Architecture Merit Award, 2012
  • RIBA Award, 2011
  • British Council for School Environments 2010 (highly commended), 2010
  • Cheltenham Civic Design Award, 2009