Wembley Theatre puts a new spin on theater in the round

7 pictures

The audience at Wembley Theatre will be surrounded by the stage and seated on a 360-degree rotating turntable, allowing different parts of a set to be presented to audience members

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You're likely familiar with the concept of "theater in the round," in which the stage is surrounded by the audience on all sides. London's new Wembley Theater, however, will turn that on its head, with the audience surrounded by the stage and seated on a 360-degree rotating turntable.

The theater is described as "the first of a series of cultural interventions in the emerging cityscape of Wembley," and has come about as a result of two factors. Dutch theater company Imagine Nation had been looking for a site in London, while Wembley itself is undergoing regeneration, with cultural venues seen as a way of animating the area and engaging the public.

Wembley met the criteria that Imagine Nation was looking for, and the firm awarded the design of the theater to architects Flanagan Lawrence, following a competition. The theater will sit on an existing 0.79-ha (2-ac) empty site, but only temporarily. The building only has planning permission for 10 years, after which the plan is to disassemble it and move it to another location.

The structure is designed to have a short construction time, aimed at getting the building up and running as a cultural hub quickly. The system for its construction employs a steel frame with 7.5-m (24.6-ft) spans and cladding that comes as modules of 3.75 m (12.3 ft), allowing it to be assembled quickly and easily on site.

The building will comprise two volumes. A 1,760-sq m (18,944-sq ft) front-of-house section will house the foyer and bar areas, cloak rooms, a box office and a restaurant. An upper 4,500-sq m (48,437-sq ft) black box, meanwhile, will house the auditorium, including its seating, staging and sets, as well as dressing rooms and technical facilities.

The auditorium will seat up to 1,300 people. Using Imagine Nation's own StageAround staging technology, it will be possible to rotate the audience to view different sections of the surrounding stage area. In this way, different sets will be able to be presented to the audience and it will also be possible to hide the sets behind projection panels and display accompanying film aspects as part of productions. Gizmag has requested more information about how the rotating auditorium will work and what technology will it use.

Wembley Theatre is currently under construction now and is expected to be complete by 2017.

View gallery - 7 images

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