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York Theatre Royal

De Matos Ryan

Shared By

Morgan Day, Hanley Wood

Project Name

York Theatre Royal


Project Status


Year Completed



35,000 sq. feet


York Citizens Theatres Trust / York Conservation Trust



  • Structural Engineer: Price & Myers
  • General Contractor: William Birch & Sons



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Project Description


York Theatre Royal has re-opened following a significant redevelopment by De Matos Ryan, dramatically transforming the theatre’s spaces and visitor experience.

The theatre has occupied the site since 1744 and has since undergone several alterations over the years, including the construction of a new foyer, a vaulted concrete pavilion built alongside the original building, by Patrick Gwynne in 1967. The redevelopment of the Grade II* listed building unlocks the full potential of a complex site that had developed incrementally over 270 years. It has created additional space the theatre urgently needed in order to appeal to and engage a wider community, bring more people into the building and create the opportunity to increase revenue, enabling it to be more financially resilient in the future.

Consulting with key stakeholders, including staff members, the Youth Theatre, audience and general public determined the changes needed to improve the visitor experience, create a context for a sustainable business and improve the theatre’s scope for high quality creative output. Temporarily closing their doors for the first time in the theatre’s history has enabled a comprehensive redesign that gives the building back its spatial coherence.

The radical redesign is immediately apparent from the street with the introduction of two new lobbied entrances, one of which allows entry from the south for the first time. The creation of new foyer space below the Dress Circle at the back of the Stalls by opening up where previously there had been broom cupboards, and the glazing in of the Victorian colonnade are the most demonstrable changes to Front of House. They provide a greater freedom of circulation, connecting the Patrick Gwynne extension (House Left) to the Georgian staircase and Keregan Room (House Right) for the first time.
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