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Everyman Theatre

Waterloo helps theatre achieve natural ventilation solution

Liverpool’s recently opened Everyman Theatre is using advanced air distribution system designed by Waterloo Air Products Plc as part of a £28 million re-build.

With funding  by the National Lottery, the Arts Council England, the European Regional Development Fund and the Northwest Regional Development Agency the theatre’s owners Liverpool Merseyside Theatres Trust (LMTT) set about creating a modern sustainable theatre that pushed the boundaries and went far beyond the minimum requirements of current legislation.

A low carbon design and sustainable use throughout the life of the building characterised the design brief, but an air distribution system was an essential part of the design criteria to stop the audience from fainting, as well as a roof that did not leak and an auditorium and stage accessible to disabled people.

The challenging priority was to minimise running costs with sustainable design and equipment being the bedrock of the LMTT’s requirements. Natural ventilation was therefore favoured to provide a comfortable environment for both patrons and performers. This was achieved by making full use of the building’s fully exposed concrete structure and reclaimed brickwork walls, which provided excellent thermal mass, and the entire west façade is designed as a large screen of moveable sunshades.

The theatre’s offices and ancillary spaces are ventilated via opening windows and the foyers are vented using opening screens and a large light well.

ALG Airline Linear Grilles

Air is distributed throughout the complex which comprises a basement, ground floor bistro, box office, and three further floors with gallery seating, control room and auditorium. Waterloo supplied Airline Linear Grilles and
Louvre Faced Diffusers as well as plenums and supply and exhaust valves.

The Airline Linear Grilles not only satisfied the air diffusion requirements but met architectural specifications and aesthetics.

If an air distribution system is improperly applied or selected, it can have an adverse effect on comfort, air quality, noise, and energy conservation. Although the selection of air diffusers and terminal devices has a lot to do with aesthetics, the theatre was keen to achieve a solution that met its objectives and delivered optimal results.
“It was important that the grilles, louvres and diffusers we supplied could respond to the theatre’s air flow requirements,” says Rick Edmondson,Waterloo’s Chairman

“Our products met the high specifications whilst ensuring best value and helping the Everyman Theatre to reduce emissions and reach its sustainability objectives.”

Everyman Theatre interiorAbout The Everyman Theatre

The Theatre is the latest theatre to adopt a natural ventilation strategy; other venues include Manchester’s Contact Theatre and the Hull Truck theatre in Hull.  The Everyman Theatre has achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating which is unusual for an urban theatre building.

The facility which was razed to the ground in 2011 and launched the careers of Bill Nighy, Julie Walters and Sir Anthony Cher, now features a new 400-seat theatre, Everyman Bistro is a popular dining venue in the city, dedicated youth and community space, front of house catering, bar facilities, rehearsal space and workshops. The theatre also boasts a fly-tower – a system that enables the storage of large pieces of set that can be lowered down on to the stage very quickly.

Theatre Facts

Theatre size 4,690m2 area
seats 402 in current configuration
3 bars, cafés and bistro
Overall capacity 450-500
25,000 bricks reclaimed from old theatre
29.3 kg CO2/m2 predicted emissions


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