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Our studio is situated overlooking the historic Theatre Royal in the centre of Margate. The second-oldest working theatre in the country, its Georgian core dates from a 1787 Music Hall, much extended and remodelled in 1874 as a horseshoe theatre.


The site is heavily constrained, filling its site completely, but is surrounded by derelict buildings. We have - independently and voluntarily - carried out research into the history and context of the theatre as both a building and a cultural organisation, to understand why it is currently struggling to survive, and what opportunities exist to sustain its future as a theatre.


Our proposal, developed with the support of the Thanet District Council Heritage Development Officer, is to:


  1. Expand the core of the Theatre Royal into the adjacent derelict 15/16 Hawley Square, to provide back-of-house and outreach facilities, with a stage yard behind.

  2. Provide expansive front-of-house and new flat-floor performance and rehearsal spaces in the former factory spaces of Thanet Press, on Union Crescent.

  3. Develop the adjacent, currently derelict no.19 Hawley Square as a small hotel with theatre residency spaces, incorporating the adjacent Public House the London Tavern, which is currently on the market.

  4. Carefully manage vehicle flow on the surrounding roads (Hawley Square and Princes St) with rising bollards to provide safe gathering and connecting space for busy periods around each event, as well as for pre-and post-show loading and deliveries.


This proposal would provide the range of spaces required to house an international-quality performing arts company, whose work would draw visitors from around the world, fuelling Margate’s year-round tourism economy, and provide excellent opportunities for local employment, learning and skills development.


In 2020 Studio Sam Causer were invited by the freeholders of the building, Thanet District Council, to assist with a successful grant application to the Historic England Covid-19 Emergency Heritage at Risk Response Fund, to enable them to carry out a Condition Survey and assessment of the ability of the site to adapt to a new environment caused by the pandemic.

Photographs by Studio Sam Causer

and Google Earth map images.

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