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Malthouse Theatre

Historic Buildings & Museums

A new Theatre / drama centre for The King’s School Canterbury, a co-educational day and boarding school with whom Fanshawe have had a long and successful relationship.

A 19th century maltings was sensitively refurbished to house a new theatre and drama centre, providing a state-of-the-art auditorium for The King’s School and local community groups. The building houses drama and dance teaching facilities and a 350-seat theatre designed to allow pupils to take a full role in both on-stage and off-stage roles. The generous foyer spaces have been carved out of the visually striking kilns where barley was historically fired. These give access to a commercial kitchen and dining rooms, a suite of science laboratories and art teaching accommodation, and circulation for the theatre.

The building accommodates offices for the drama department and changing rooms for the actors. Workshop facilities allow the school to produce sets immediately off-stage. Working closely alongside Tim Ronalds Architects, Price & Myers and Skelly & Couch, Fanshawe used their extensive experience to manage the complete refurbishment project.

As well as fully-designed M&E services to ensure energy-efficient operation and lower carbon emissions, the fabric and insulation of the building were upgraded significantly, resulting in a largely-reused existing building with great sustainability credentials. Secondary glazing was added to improve efficiency whilst retaining the historic windows and a careful analysis determined which parts of the building could be comfortably naturally ventilated, despite it being immediately beside both the train line into London and residential properties. Where natural ventilation was not appropriate heat recovery systems to ensure efficient use of energy in operation.

Winner of an AJ Retrofit Award 2021 (Cultural Buildings £5 million and over). The conversion of the Victorian brewery maltings into a school theatre and drama centre was described by judges as combining ‘a freshness of approach while sensitively retaining the character of the existing building’.

Winner of three RIBA South East Awards 2021: main award, Building of the Year and Conservation. The state-of-the-art theatre at the Kent independent school was hailed by RIBA as an ‘absolute exemplar of how-to repurpose an existing building in an imaginative, honest and sensitive way and is a credit to everyone involved’.

* Winner of a RIBA National Award 2021 *



Tom Ronalds Architects

Skelly & Couch

Price & Myers

Charcoal Blue


Project Management

Quantity Surveying


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