Striking New Look For Earlsfield Theatre

Tara Arts to be restored and extended

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Wandsworth Council’s planning applications committee has
approved plans for a highly distinctive theatre redevelopment
on Garratt Lane, Earlsfield.

The proposal for Tara Arts Theatre - home to an
acclaimed arts company which first brought Asian theatre
to Britain in the 1970s - is the creation of RHWL Arts Team
architects and will be part funded by a grant from Arts Council England.

The striking design would see the theatre's historic brickwork
façade restored and the building extended to the side, rear and at roof level.
The new element would be encased in a bright terracotta render incorporating a distinctive tree motif.

A mixture of coloured panels and glazed windows would also be included in the theatre's vivid external appearance.

The motif, which wraps around the entire four storey side extension, is inspired by the Banyan Tree - India 's national tree and a traditional community meeting place where people gather in the shade of its canopy.

The tree, wrapping around the traditionally British façade, is intended to reflect the theatre company's fusion of Anglo-Asian arts.

The redevelopment would also create a new rehearsal space, an improved auditorium, modernised office and foyer space, a more sustainable building fabric and new technical infrastructure.

The deteriorating building has been home to Tara Arts for over thirty years and is no longer fit-for-purpose.

Wandsworth Council's Planning Chairman Nick Cuff said:

"This exceptional scheme will safeguard the future of a well loved local theatre and provide a fantastic new landmark building for Earlsfield. It's a bold, exciting design with a carefully considered form that relates well to the rest of the terrace.

"It will offer the facilities Tara needs to grow and a vastly improved performance space for its patrons. Without this new investment the group may have been forced to leave the borough in search of new premises."

The scheme incorporates a range of sustainable technologies including photovoltaic panels and air source heat pump as well as recycled building materials like reclaimed wood and reclaimed Indian artefacts sourced by Tara Arts.

A new staircase and lift would also be provided to improve access throughout the building and new customer toilets will be created at basement level.

To view the plan visit www.wandsworth.gov.uk/planning - search for application reference number 2012/3685

December 10, 2012