Battersea Arts Centre’s Grand Hall was destroyed by fire in 2015, today it officially reopens. The rebuild, led by Stirling award winners Haworth Tompkins, is stunning – BAC have retained the fire-scorched walls to create an incredibly atmospheric space.
David Jubb, Artistic Director and CEO of Battersea Arts Centre said:
“The re-opening of the Grand Hall marks a massive moment for us – it’s the first time the entire building has been fully open for the public to explore for 12 years. This follows an iterative project which has renovated and opened up the whole building. When the flames rose above the Grand Hall on Friday 13 March 2015 it looked as if all that progress might be lost. But due to brilliant and brave firefighters – and the incredible generosity of more than 6,000 people and organisations – the building was saved and the Grand Hall is reborn!
Steve Tompkins, Founding Director of Haworth Tompkins said:
“It’s been such privilege to be part of this long, experimental journey. In true BAC style, much of the work has been improvised and tuned as we went along through constant reappraisal and feedback, responding to circumstances and changing our plan when needed. I think this equipped us well to face up to the shock of the Grand Hall fire together and work out the most creative way to rebuild. As architects, artists, producers and members of the wider community, we set out to make BAC a place where everyone can feel part of a shared, creative risk-taking project, and for us the last twelve years’ collaboration has already fulfilled that ambition.”
Toby Jones, actor and patron of Battersea Arts Centre said:
“Battersea Arts Centre has not just been restored, it has been revolutionised. The Grand Hall is now one of the most exciting and flexible venues in London. To alchemise beauty from rubble and grace from catastrophe is entirely consistent with the dynamic artistic and political history of this building. Battersea Arts Centre continues to scratch and sniff at what it means to be a popular participatory theatre in the twenty first century. I’m proud to be a small part of it.”
The Grand Hall reopening is a huge moment BAC. It comes towards the end of a 12-year collaboration with Haworth Tompkins to transform the building into one of the most flexible arts centres in the country. The celebratory opening Phoenix Season has shows by Gecko – who return to finish the run of Missing that was interrupted by the fire – National Theatre of Scotland, Bryony Kimmings, BAC Beatbox Academy, Dead Centre, Lekan Lawal, Little Bulb Theatre, The Paper Cinema, Lemn Sissay, the BAC Moving Museum and others.