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The past

3 1/8th of building image: Morley Von Sternberg

The history of Battersea Town Hall provides inspiration to the capital project. This is both in terms of the purpose of the project, drawing on the social and civic values at the heart of the Town Hall’s history to inform the objectives of the project, and in terms of sharing that history with the public.

The birth of Battersea up to 1893 Before the land was purchased for the Town Hall, Elm House stood on the site on Lavender Hill surrounded by fields. The final occupants of Elm House were the Nassau-Seniors: thinkers, social change-makers and excellent hosts. As Inspector of the Poor Houses, Jeannie Nassau-Senior was the first official female civil servant and inspiration for the foster care system. The Town Hall, built on the site of Elm House to govern a mushrooming population, was the civic heart of a new community. Inscribed in the Lower Hall is Battersea’s motto ‘not for you, not for me, but for us’, offering a recurring theme for the site, celebrating the power of congregation and collective endeavour.

Radical politics and civic pride 1893 – 1967 Throughout its life as a functioning town hall, the building was a hub for radical politics, finding itself at the forefront of progressive thinking on feminism, racial equality, and socialism. The Social Federation Party, the UK’s first organised socialist party, the UK Communist Party, the Trade Union movement, the Independent Labour Party and the campaign for Women’s Suffrage all had strong roots in the Town Hall through the 20th century. Battersea figures included Charlotte Despard, a prominent suffragist and novelist; John Burns, leader of the Dockers’ Strikes and the UK’s first working class Member of Parliament; and John Archer, London’s first black mayor.

Saving the Town Hall 1967 – 1980 After the seat of local government moved to Wandsworth Town Hall, the building was boarded up and quickly fell into disrepair. There were repeated attempts at demolition (one plan included turning the site into an ‘ultra-modern’ swimming pool and car park), all of which the building survived through a combination of local campaigning and wider architectural interest. Throughout this period, one thing remained clear: people cared deeply about the building, and in 1970 the building was listed. A council run arts centre was finally established and in 1980 Battersea Arts Centre was founded as an independent trust.

Radical artistic visions 1980 – present day Now recognised as “Britain’s most influential theatre” by national press, BAC identifies and nurtures the most exciting theatre artists in the UK. Our roster of internationally-acclaimed shows includes Jerry Springer The Opera by Richard Thomas & Stewart Lee and The Masque of the Red Death, a co-production with Punchdrunk. The radical democracy of the former Town Hall lives on in BAC’s programme, with recent flagship events including the Transition Towns national conference, a sell-out production of George Orwell’s 1984, and Nic Green’s Trilogy exploring modern-day feminism. BAC has developed award-winning participatory arts activities for school children across Wandsworth and has pioneered the ‘scratch’ process for making theatre, bringing together artists and audiences to test and refine ideas through dialogue and collaboration. In 2007, threatened with closure by proposed cuts from Wandsworth Council, BAC galvanised an opposition campaign that prompted debate during Prime Minister’s Questions. Supported by lobbying from local people BAC secured a 125 year lease commencing 2008 with a 20 year rent free period.

Duke & Duchess of York’s visit to Battersea Town Hall in 1928 Photographer unknown

We will draw from the past to create the future. We will provide access to the building and its stories to over 5,000 young people every year and work with 15 local schools to create theatre inspired by the Town Hall. For example, in 2012 we will create and present The Good Neighbour inspired by the life and heroic deeds of George Neighbour who died in 1909 and who is celebrated by a plaque in the Town Hall. We will work with school children, families and local businesses to create a building wide performance for over 6,000 people.

Victorian weathervane on BAC’s roof Photographer unknown

Headline areas for improvement The building is nearly 120 years old. Whilst it is structurally sound, the infrastructure needs to be thoroughly updated.

• BAC’s roofs are old and leaky, causing poor insulation, water damage to flooring and health and safety hazards. • Inefficient heating systems and ageing infrastructure need to be upgraded to reduce energy consumption and costs. • Limited theatre production infrastructure across the building restricts our ability to present building-wide productions. • Poor quality uncomfortable seating results in a poor audience experience and often a reduction in repeat bookings. • Sub-standard spaces fail to maximise the full potential of our Events business and improvements to heat, light and acoustics are essential. • Insufficient and inferior toilet facilities are poorly located, reducing BAC’s licensed capacity and levels of customer satisfaction. • BAC’s basement and attic are inaccessible to wheelchair users and do not meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act.

In August 2011 BAC Homegrown presented Brave made by young people from across Wandsworth in the week of the Clapham Junction riots. Photo by James Allan

• Masonry, brickwork, intricate mosaic tiled flooring and original glasswork are in poor condition. • The Hope-Jones Grand Hall organ needs a second phase of repair before it can be used again in public performances.

The future

4 1/8th of building image: Morley Von Sternberg

The goal of the project is to create a home that combines an innovative performance environment with a radical environmental agenda. The proposals unlock the building, re-organising the internal spaces to open up performance possibilities and create accessible circulation throughout with convivial public areas. A careful balance between comfort and energy reduction will guide the repairs and improvements to the Town Hall’s fabric and infrastructure.

Ground Floor New ramp, steps and lighting to main entrance Digital archive viewing pods in foyer Induction loop at box office Restoration of mosaic floor Restoration of historic streetlights New landscaping to Town Hall Road New ramp and steps to bar entrance


New double glazing to sash windows

Developing innovative performance environments - the proposals include interlinked first floor rooms; plug and play points throughout the building; creating a performance space in the courtyard; building-wide facilities for performers including dressing rooms and bedrooms.


Grand Hall Level

Welcoming public, artists and staff to a creative home - the proposals include improvements to the Lavender Hill entrance; an active, visible presence on Town Hall Road, with a new entrance to the bar; opening up the bar to the foyer internally; improved toilet facilities for all users of the building; external repairs and fabric upgrades; and the further development of bedrooms and associated facilities for artists resident at BAC..

Restoration of organ apparatus Restoration of mosaic floor New lift to Lower Hall level New landscaping to Town Hall Road New ramp and steps to Grand Hall entrance


New parking space on Theatre Street

Creating a fully accessible building - the proposals include a central passenger and goods lift linking all five floors of the building across its sloping site, offering disabled access to the basement and attic areas of the building and enabling the entire footprint to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act.


Lower Hall- New Level lift to Lower Hall level

Providing appropriate infrastructure that enables sustainability to be writing on the stick of rock running through our capital plans. The proposals include upgrading the services infrastructure to significantly reduce energy consumption; a new hub for staff in the attic spaces; a fully accessible rooftop walkway around the courtyard; increasing and improving 2 storage, tech and recycling spaces; and the reconfiguration of the Lower Hall as a hub for young companies working across the creative industries.

Heritage Celebrating the unique history of the building and its community – the proposals include restoring large parts of the Town Hall to its former glory. The project seeks to celebrate the Town Hall and its history across the building and through a brand new digital archive that will reflect the evolving histories of the building and the people who continue to use it.

Restoration of organ apparatus - New landscaping to Town Hall Road Restoration of mosaic floor

HLF Stage Relocation of Lower Hall entranceB to - New lift to Lower Hall level original location

- New landscaping to Town Hall R

New facilities for Lower Hall users New serviced office area


New lift to Lower Hall level



- New lift to Lower Hall le

- New landscaping to Tow

New landscaping to Town Hall Road



Mosaic floor

External landscaping

Grand Hall organ

Lower Hall works

Access works Floor plans showing proposed uses Drawings by Haworth Tompkins

Roof Level and External envelope Repairs to external brick and stonework Repairs to chimneys and turrets Repairs to pitched roofs New roof covering to flat roofs

Second Floor Insulation to roof spaces New access flooring to Principal stair rooflight New ventilation louvre to Principal stair rooflight

First Floor Restoration of mosaic floor Restoration of Octagonal dome Restoration of Grand Hall canopy Restoration of Theatre Street lantern Two new woodburning stoves New double glazing to Grand Hall rooflights New double glazing to sash windows

Mosaic floor Octagonal dome Fabric upgrades

floor plans showing proposed uses Drawings by Haworth Tompkins

1/8th of building image: Morley Von Sternberg

The process


Since 2008 we have raised and invested £1.75 million in to the building against our five objectives through a series of phased projects: Performance Opened up the first floor promenade.Created flexible studio theatres across the first floor and tested them through seasons of theatre.

Home Created a dedicated creative space for families called The Bees Knees. Installed six artist bedrooms, artist kitchen and bathrooms. Created improved open plan administrative facilities.

Accessibility Opened up thirty spaces for public use that were previously cluttered with storage or office space, or blocked by partitions or hazardous material. Provided industry standard off-road access to the west wing and Grand Hall.

Resilience Tested wood burners in key locations. Boarded out roof voids in preparation for insulating and infrastructure works. Reduced sound leakage from the Grand Hall with double glazing and improved thermal performance. Inspired by the Transition Network begun to explore sustainability right across our programme.

Heritage Restored the Council Chamber and the Grand Hall. Researched BAC’s archive and developed a digital collection’s policy.

Grand Hall Photo by BAC

Working in partnership with Haworth Tompkins we have taken the building master plan to RIBA Stage D and authored a Conservation Management Plan.

Members’ Bar theatre installation November 2011 Photo by Tref Davies

Playgrounding The process we are using provides a positive framework for creative risk-taking. We have collaborated with Haworth Tompkins and a number of artists to develop this process. It adopts the key principles of how artists make work at BAC, in partnership with audiences, and transposes these to an architectural process. It is iterative, improvisatory, collaborative and creative placing the building user – audiences, artists and staff – at the heart of the design process. We call this process Playgrounding and the Arts Council is supporting this approach with £2.5 million through their RENEW scheme. As shows and creative projects are conceived, we use them to better understand how our building can work for us and how best it should evolve for the community. Design ideas are rooted in the creativity of the artists working at BAC. Some design ideas are subject to pilot projects, testing them with a lighttouch impermanence, to ensure they are the right fit and will achieve best value for money. Some phases are delivered in-house, enabling us to achieve better value than if we packaged them all together as building contracts. We have demonstrated that we can achieve considerable cost efficiencies using this process through the first phase of works. We are also carrying out a traditional master plan process to ensure that each phased projects delivers aspects of the overall vision and all pull in the same direction.

Town Hall Road entrance Photo by Philip Vile

1/8th of building image: Morley Von Sternberg

The impact


We have set ourselves measurable goals as an organisation that we want to reach by 2015. These goals are shared across the organisation and will be delivered through our capital project. Through BAC’s process and project we seek to integrate revenue and capital strands of activity.

By 2015 we will have: Improved the relationships between audiences and artists across BAC and the UK • Three major national newspaper articles annually featuring BAC’s building, shows and our civic role, contributing towards a broadening of the public’s interpretation of what a “theatre” can be. • Consistent first rate reviews and awards for BAC Productions as exemplars of inventive new theatre. • Three BAC productions touring nationally (including one by our young peoples’ company) and one internationally every year.

Increased the value of BAC’s social experience placing food, drink and congregation at the heart of the programme • The turnover of the Café Bar has doubled from 2011/12. • The former Town Hall is a destination venue with national reviews for our food and drink. • Vegetables and other food served in our café/bar are grown on-site and locally.

Increased the profile of the organisation locally, nationally and internationally with a more widely understood philosophy & vision • The organisation is regularly and consistently written about and discussed by leading commentators, politicians and artists. • The organisation is championed by all sections of the Wandsworth community and contributes substantially towards the civic life of the borough.

Created online resources and learning adventures throughout our building • Half a million people every year enjoy an experience of BAC and the building, either live or through our digital platforms and archives. • Our productions regularly incorporate aspects of building history or heritage as part of their inspiration or the stories they tell.

Created a resilient model for theatre that is a paradigm of excellence in terms of the use and creation of resources

Don John Bar Photo by Philip Vile

• Our energy use has been reduced by 40%. • Every aspect of our business has been considered as we encourage transition to a new model for a 21st century theatre building and community resource. • Our public spaces are populated by local people reflecting the diverse make-up of Londoners in age, ethnicity and socio-economic backgrounds.

BAC is inseparable from its community. The artists need the community and the community needs the art. It's not just about the economic impact or the access to entertainment and recreation – both of which are vitally important of course. It's about having a building where it is possible to go in a spirit of uncertainty and leave feeling more optimistic about the human race. Jude Kelly, Artistic Director, Southbank Centre, Founding Director of BAC

Design School Day One Photo by BAC A Tea Dance in our Grand Hall Photo by Ed Collier

1/8th of building image: Morley Von Sternberg

The numbers


The total cost of the capital project is £13.2 million. Towards this goal to date we have: • Raised £2.5 million through the Arts Council’s RENEW grant scheme • Secured £1.7 million from statutory and private sources •Completed a Stage 2 application to Heritage Lottery Fund for £2.5 million, with funding due to be confirmed this October We plan to apply for a further £4.5 million of funding from the Arts Council through their new capital fund, which opened this Summer. We have £2 million of funding still to secure, of which we expect £1.4 million to come from trusts and foundations and £600,000 from major donors and individuals.

Nine reasons to support Battersea Arts Centre’s capital appeal 1

We have already had offers and pledges from Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund meaning that for every £1 donated unlocks £5 of lottery funding.


You will be supporting innovation in theatre.


Our building plans will provide a safe place where young people from diverse backgrounds can hang out and express their creativity on equal terms, doubling the number of young people we work with every year from 2,500 to 5,000.


Our Playgrounding process has already seen the successful investment of £1.75 million demonstrating excellent value for money.


You will enable BAC to significantly reduce energy consumption, carbon production and a reliance on resources beyond the local.


Your support will enable BAC to earn an additional £250k per year from improved facilities, enabling a more resilient business model.


Our plans will have a positive impact on local businesses and community groups.


Your support will help create community gardens where children and young people

9 Brave by BAC Homegrown Photo by James Allen

can actively engage in growing food for Battersea. Our project will create a legacy of learning which will inform other capital development projects.

Every ÂŁ1 donated unlocks ÂŁ5 of lottery funding. With Gift Aid and tax efficiencies your gift can really stretch to enable us to deliver these plans.

Foyer staircase Photo by BAC

1/8th of building image: Morley Von Sternberg

Support us


BAC is keen to encourage support across two tiers Every £1 donated unlocks an additional £5 of lottery funding. Gifts of every size will contribute to our plans to sustain BAC for generations to come.

The first tier seeks lead support for significant projects. We are looking for major donors to join us in realising:

• Artist bedrooms Enabling BAC to create a unique residency resource for theatre artists in London

• Start-up space for young companies Enabling BAC to provide a creative hub for some of the UK’s most dynamic young arts companies

• First floor performance environment Enabling BAC to create the UK’s most exciting flexible performance environment

• Resilience Enabling BAC to champion local cultural enterprise, a reduction in energy consumption and collaborative partnerships

• Accessibility Enabling BAC to provide level access to all areas of the building and a more welcoming entrance and lobby

The second tier seeks support for more discrete aspects of finishing and furnishing. Suggested levels of support include:

• Dressing room mirror


• A comfy chair in the foyer


• Wood burning stove


For more details and to support our capital project please contact David and David on / 020 7326 8219 or Kane Moore, Capital Project Fundraiser on / 020 7326 8235.

BAC’s 30th Birthday party Photo by James Allan

Donors to the capital programme have included: Arts Council England Biffaward The Big Lottery Fund on behalf of ... The Government Office for Civil Society The City Bridge Trust English Heritage The Eranda Foundation The Follett Trust The Foundation for Sport & the Arts The Foyle Foundation Elizabeth & Reade Griffith Heritage Lottery Fund

The Ian Mactaggart Trust The Idlewild Trust Jenny Sheridan John D Nickson The Mactaggart Third Fund The Pilgrim Trust Naomi Russell+ Partners The SITA Trust Wandsworth Borough Council The Wolfson Foundation The Western Riverside Environmental Fund

Significant revenue support from the EsmĂŠe Fairbairn Foundation, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Bloomberg has been crucial in enabling us to develop our business model in order to take on the enormous challenge of a large scale capital development project whilst remaining within the building.

The Red Shoes by Kneehigh Theatre ran for three weeks in our Council Chamber and was a catalyst for major improvements for this much loved space. Photo by Steve Tanner

BAC Capital Brochure 2012  

An overview of Battersea Arts Centre Capital works 2011/12

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