This month, the project team have been busy laying our floors at NST City. In the corridors linking the foyer, bar and box office with the main house, studio, rehearsal and workshop spaces, the floors are a beautifully polished concrete. Our rehearsal and workshop art spaces have been completed and have been sealed, while work continues in other parts of the building, ready for the final big clean.
Earlier this month, some of the team visited NST City, the transformation is really exciting. The main auditorium looks enormous, we stood on the stage, then headed up to the top balcony and onto the grid system high above the auditorium. This was a little daunting for some members of the team! However our Head of Production, Andrew Quick, felt right at home.
The 450 seat Mainhouse at NST City is now really taking shape with 26 counterweight flying lines having been installed. The stage is also in place which is very exciting, because for the first time we can get the feel of this brand new performance space. Over in the Studio, the walls and roof have been lined with acoustic panels and 72 Theatre lighting patch panels are also now being installed.
In January we held the last of a series of Preview Tours of our new venue, NST City. Over 200 people from Southampton have taken the opportunity to have a sneak preview and see inside where work is progressing to build a flexible 450 seat main house theatre, a 135 seat studio, screening facilities, a dance studio, workshop spaces and a new café bar with views across Guildhall Square.
We answered questions about how we will run two venues; in the city and at Highfield campus, what ideas we have for these facilities and how our community and local artists can get involved. You can read more on the FAQs page.
It is not too late for you to be part of this conversation, please do contact us as we welcome your ideas. Email [email protected]
2017 will see the opening of our new city centre venue NST City at Studio 144. We have been running community preview tours of our new venue and talking to many of you about the use of these new spaces and your ideas of how the community and local artists can get involved. Check out our photos of progress so far. Whilst our current preview tours are now fully booked we do have a discussion on Saturday 14 January, 1pm at Mettricks, Guildhall Square which is open to all. Please join us if you can.
Earlier this month, we held our first community Preview Tour of our new venue, NST City at Studio 144. We’ve had such an overwhelming response that we have now started a waiting list and are planning further tours in the New Year. In other news, we’re delighted the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced £1.6 million in capital investment for Studio 144.
‘Central government’s direct investment in our new city centre venue shows an understanding that cultural capital can and does regularly transform cities and Nuffield Southampton Theatres feel very privileged to be the guardians of this important civic space.’ Sam Hodges, Director and CEO, NST Nuffield Southampton Theatres
Work is gathering momentum as wiring and plumbing continues at a pace throughout the building. The mainhouse auditorium in particular is now taking shape. Our anticipation is growing, as we are getting closer to removal of the remarkable birdcage scaffolding in the auditorium, to finally see and get a real sense of this dynamic space which will be at the heart of the new venue.
This month as work continues behind the scenes on Studio 144, the British Art Show 8 opens across the city on 8 October. Nuffield Laboratory is pleased to announce that Matthew Parvin has been chosen to receive a professional reading of his new piece inspired by the event.
Somewhere Else Entirley by Matt Parvin, is a new piece of writing made in response to the work of Nicholas Deshayes featured in the British Art Show 8. Matthew’s new writing piece will also inspire three pieces of new visual art which will also be exhibited at God’s House Tower during the Southampton Fringe.
The piece has been developed through Nuffield Laboratory’s Writers’ In Development scheme. The reading will take place at God’s House Tower on 26th October at 7pm as part of the Southampton Fringe. Tickets are free and available online.
Even throughout the summer holidays, work continues at a pace in our new venue at Studio 144. The floor of the main mezzanine has been laid allowing us to picture our audiences discussing our latest production with a coffee overlooking Guildhall Square. Backstage the electrics are being installed. The miles of cables feeding electricity to our mainhouse auditorium, our studio theatre and of course the rehearsal spaces, bar and kitchen look impressive and are being connected into our dimmer room. In the workshop area, the containment is also ready for safe storage for theatre cables.
The Nuffield team had a look behind the scenes of the new spaces in the north building at Studio 144. We were very excited to see how much progress had been made over the last few months. Floors have been laid, the tension wire grid above the main-house auditorium is in place and miles of cables are being installed. Our Senior Marketing Officer, Christiane Hofmann, was particularly pleased to discover the new copier room!
Nuffield Southampton Theatre Trust has been awarded £145,000 from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, enabling Nuffield Laboratory to support local producers and entrepreneurs to develop arts projects in our new venue at Studio 144.
A brand new training scheme, Self-Starters,will also be launched in time for the opening of Studio 144 in 2017. Hannah Bevan, Nuffield Laboratory Producer said, "the Self-Starters programme will support local producers and entrepreneurs by offering some seed funding and training opportunities for arts projects which engage the artists and audiences in Southampton.” Find out more.
It has been an exciting month at Studio 144. Nuffield Executive Director Caroline Routh met with BBC’s South Today and gave them a tour of the new venue. Highlights included the new open plan foyer, box office and restaurant/bar area with views across Guildhall Square, a look at the Studio as the sprung floor was being installed and a tour into the tension wire grid of the mainhouse.
We were delighted this month to congratulate our Studio 144 neighbour, City Eye, on their 30th birthday as Southampton’s leading organisation promoting and inspiring film and video culture across the region. Their move into Studio 144 will enable City Eye to establish a regional hub for film culture with better production facilities and allow more opportunities for audiences to engage with a wider programme of specialised and independent film. City Eye will be located along with the John Hansard Gallery in the south building.
Meanwhile over in the north building, the main staircase is being fitted and work is progressing well on the cabling for the tension wire grid in the mainhouse. The backstage workshop areas are also now really taking shape.
Great news and another step closer! Last week the pedestrianised walkway that bi-sects the new arts complex and links Guildhall Square to East Park was re-opened after three years. This walkway, now known as Guildhall Place, was unveiled by Grosvenor, Southampton City Council and tenants of the new complex: ourselves at Nuffield, John Hansard Gallery and City Eye.
This important milestone coincided with the Council’s announcement that the new arts complex is to be named Studio 144. The number is the building’s new address on Guildhall Square, and “studio” was designed to evoke its multi-purpose identity embracing theatre, visual arts and film – a creative, cohesive, and community space.
Meanwhile inside work continues at a pace. Concrete floors are being laid, work is progressing on the grid in the main house auditorium, and electrics are being fitted in our new rehearsal studio.
We are thrilled that Nuffield is among the recipients of Arts Council England's small capital grant programme. We have been awarded £154,020 to purchase a bespoke, versatile and accessible seating system for our new city centre venue, the North Building of Southampton’s New Arts Complex. This specialised equipment will include seating rostra, handrails, steps and demountable seating, and will provide Nuffield with the flexibility to produce and present work in a multitude of different seating configurations.
The new 447 seat main house auditorium is jammed packed with scaffolding as the grid is installed. Just in case you didn’t know, the grid allows technicians to walk above the stage and auditorium to prepare lighting and sound equipment along with flown pieces of scenery. Front of house, the new foyer and bar area are beginning to take shape, making the most of splendid views across Guildhall Square and all the building's water pipes have now been fitted.