Client: The Nuffield Theatre
‘The Playing Field’ is a 450-seat theatre in the centre of Southampton. Commissioned by the Nuffield Theatre it represented a major collaboration between the city’s arts organizations hosting a festival of theatre, film, music and dance.
The structural strategy was to create a timber beam and post module with full plan and elevation bracing. The module was adapted to turn the corners and span the goal openings without visibly altering the architectural rhythm.
The steel bracing is designed to span two bays and allows the structure to act as a rigid box under lateral loads. Ground fixing was not permissible in the city square and the rigid box approach allows the lightweight frame to act as a gravity structure in high winds.
Coupled with the suspension masts that support a central lighting truss the bracing lends a Hi-Tech aesthetic to the stage, reminiscent of full scale stadium design and in keeping with the cultural programme.