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Theatre hosting Oliver! suffers over heating

One of London’s most historic theatres is looking to install a new £1.5 million air conditioning system to combat “severe overheating”.

The Theatre Royal Drury Lane is currently enjoying massive success by staging the star studded production of musical Oliver! featuring Rowan Atkinson, but lack of effective air conditioning is leaving some unable to enjoy the show.

Temperatures have soared so high that members of the audience have had to walk out and some have demanded refunds.

In response theatre owner the Really Useful Group has now submitted a formal application to Westminster City Council to gain approval for improvement work.
In a supporting letter for the application Mike Fitzgerald from Lee/Fitzgerald Architects writes:

“The auditorium suffers severe over heating. The balcony level in particular become insufferably hot, resulting in regular demands for refunds during the show. “

The new air conditioning system has to carefully fit in with the Theatre Royal’s listed building status.

Mr Fitzgerald added: “In essence the approach is to use existing duct runs leaving the real intervention in the form of air handling and chiller units at roof level or within existing plant areas. Being at roof level they can always be removed in the future without damage to the listed fabric of the building.”

The problems with temperature had grown due to the technical complexity of modern productions including the dramatic increase in the use of stage lighting and the associated generation of more heat.