Alnwick Playhouse


Northumberland County Council


November 2019 – 50 weeks




Alnwick, Northumberland

The Alnwick Playhouse is an arts centre, theatre and cinema in the town of Alnwick in Northumberland, England. It is also the headquarters of the NTC Touring Theatre Company, Alnwick library and the local tourist information centre.

The building itself consists of many different parts. There is the main stage (with green room behind it) and an auditorium that seats over 200 people. Underneath the auditorium is a bar area with seating. On the ground floor, there is a foyer, a box office, a workshop, the NTC Touring Company office and a small ‘black box theatre’ style performance/rehearsal space with some limited seating. The Playhouse was originally built in 1925 as a 700-seat cinema and occasional music hall. The Playhouse eventually closed in 1979. The NTC Touring Theatre Company bought the building and converted the ground floor. The upper floor was leased out to The Alnwick District Playhouse Trust who re-opened the then newly refurbished Alnwick Playhouse in December, 1990. It has remained open since then.

Alnwick Playhouse

Northern Bear Building Services carried out the remodelling and refurbishment of the existing playhouse to totally transform the ground floor of the existing playhouse to create a new airy open plan space the works included the internal refurbishment of the entire ground floor, bar and mezzanine areas along with a full mechanical and electrical replacement and installation of a new lift.

Substantial temporary works were required to allow new openings to be formed in the 600 to 1000 mm thick existing walls with new structural masonry pillars being built to support the new structural steelwork which created the new openings.

The scheme comprised of the full refurbishment of the existing theatre / cinema, offices, public spaces together with a full ground floor alteration into an open plan Tourist Information, Customer Services, Library services for Northumberland County Council, together with a café and associated facilities. Works included major structural alterations, roof repairs, internal finishes & fit out and full M&E refurbishment.

Alnwick Playhouse

A major part of the project was installing a new lift shaft through the building to provide a lift facility into the basement which was not present in the original theatre which was to be provided to allow the playhouse to move props / costumes from the storage in the basement to all back of house areas throughout the building – the structure for the lift had to be redesigned once the project commenced on site once the existing building was opened up after the client vacated the site and further more intrusive surveys could be carried out on site. Again it would have been a benefit if the more intrusive surveys could have been carried out prior to the works commencing on site but unfortunately this would have been too much disruption to the client ongoing business at that time.

The works also provided a new space for the Northumberland County Council Tourist Information and Library Services, along with a new café and refurbished bar area.

This project was completed on time and within budget but unfortunately the project was just going live (it had a number of shows in Christmas 2019 and January 2020) but then was effected by COVID19 lockdown and has only just recently started to fully use the new facility in accordance with the governments guidelines throughout the pandemic.