Thanks to extensive renovations, this old Moravian church and minister's house in Bedford, England, now functions as a vibrant performing arts center. Foster Wilson Architects converted the heritage-listed church into a timber-and-glass theater that can be used by the Bedford School and the local community.
The Quarry Theatre at St Luke’s combines the old and new to transform this important Grade II listed building. The original structure has been converted into a 300-seat galleried courtyard theater with the addition of a new foyer and backstage extension which opens up to the church garden. It will be used by the Bedford School, the local community and touring theater groups.
“We wanted to respect and work with the grain of the original building while adapting it to its new use,” said architect Tim Foster. “Wherever possible, original spaces have been restored by removing later additions that confused the clarity of the original plan.”
The architects converted the central area of the chapel into a large hall by building a steel structure in the interior to avoid disruption to the original volume and historic facade. New sight lines to the stage are provided by extending forward the existing balcony and extending two levels of new galleries along both sides of the auditorium.
A curved glass wall encompasses an additional foyer and bar and opens out to a terrace, providing panoramic views of the gardens. Additional spaces such as offices and a studio are located on the upper levels, while front-of-the-house facilities occupy the former minister’s house adjoining the church.
Photos by Philip Vile