DML have been proud to be involved in the delivery of Soho’s newest playhouse. Opened to the public in Autumn 2019, the Boulevard is a new theatre and restaurant located on the site where Paul Raymond opened the original Boulevard Theatre, where alternative comedy acts such as Eddie Izzard, Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders and Rik Mayall often performed.
Forming part of the wider 50,000 ft² mixed use redevelopment of Walker’s Court, the Boulevard Theatre represents a radical new performance space for London. It showcases a vibrant, mixed entertainment programme of theatre, comedy, cabaret, music, film and literature.
The new building is accessed via a two-storey glass bridge which leads to a 55-seat restaurant and cocktail bar area to deliver a full entertainment package.
The auditorium was designed by SODA Architects in close collaboration with Charcoal Blue Theatre consultants. Using cutting-edge VR technology to develop the configurations and interior finishes they have created a revolving, two level, fully-adaptable playing space with a seated capacity of 165.
Despite its modest size, the theatre is considered one of the most technologically advanced auditoriums in the world – fully revolving at balcony and stalls levels to create flexible and adaptable performance spaces and seating layouts within a constricted site.
The design accommodates the varying identities of the space, from day to night, cabaret to catwalk and theatre-in-the-round. The result is a striking and modern aesthetic which compliments the energy of the surrounding Soho night life.
DML had full responsibly for planning, design development, procurement, cost planning and construction. Design management was a particular challenge to ensure the correct balance was met in incorporating the architect’s vision, the theatre designers technical requirements whilst also meeting the required standards for a theatre and building for public use.
The site was extremely constrained, with occupied premises, daily market and public access needing to be maintained both on site and with adjoining premises at all times.
The construction itself included retention and excavation below existing buildings as well as new build construction. DML were responsible for coordinating the logistical challenges this presented.