by Jez Bond

Theatres need to be incredibly diverse spaces. From being the battlegrounds of Agincourt one month to the working kitchen of a restaurant the next a lot is demanded of our auditoria - and it's not all in the set design. The fabric of the building needs to handle each transformation - with requirements for comfort, fire safety, ventilation and other regulatory matters fighting alongside the technological and artistic ambitions of the design team. Our finest auditoria are magical spaces where dreams are made.

But at Park we're seeking to push the limits with further ambitions; for a creative space that serves us not just for three hours of a day, but throughout it. To this end we are installing - and have previously blogged about - roof lights in both auditoria - in order that rehearsals, workshops, presentations and other activities can take place under the natural light of the day. The glazing has not yet arrived but through the holes in our new roof the sunlight streams in and one can immediately appreciate the benefit. If we can truly present a space that works equally well during the day as at night we will have the opportunity to increase our income through hiring of the auditoria for a far greater range of purposes.

But the beauty of the light currently streaming in is that it bounces off the unpainted plasterboard walls and lights up the room. Were the auditoria-to-be now black, the effect of the incoming light would be significantly reduced. So what colour should the auditoria be - a shade of grey not too dark as to dampen the incoming light but not too light as to impact upon achieving a total blackout? The decision rests with us; and will no doubt involve some experimentation with tins of paint and some blackout blinds. I shall let you know once the verdict has been reached - in the meantime do let us know your thoughts!...

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