Who we are:

The ABTT Theatre Planning Committee is made up of experienced theatre consultants, architects, acousticians, designers and technicians who are selected to provide expertise appropriate to a particular project. All of these people are professionally involved in the design of performance spaces.

This peer group give their time and the benefit of their experience on a voluntary basis. Members of the Committee who have a professional interest in a project will not represent the Committee but may attend as the client’s consultants.

What we do:

The ABTT Theatre Planning Committee has been active for the past thirty years, providing impartial advice at the planning stage to improve the design and technical standards of new or refurbished performing arts buildings of any size. It reviews plans for new and remodelled theatres, opera houses, performing arts centres and concert halls, which are brought to it by clients, consultants and architects.

How we do it:

We provide a review process which is carried out in the presence of the owners of the scheme and members of their design team who join the selected Committee members informally around a table, usually in the late afternoon in London. The Client or architect is invited to introduce the scheme and to briefly explain the general principles of the project. Members of the committee raise issues from the plans for discussion. The sessions last between 1 and 2 hours. A written summary of the main points of discussion is prepared following the meeting and forwarded to the client or architect responsible.

Who would benefit from a building review?

Anyone who is preparing the designs for a performing arts building will benefit from having the plans examined by a number of experienced people. The service is available to anyone who is involved in planning or designing for the performing arts. The review covers general design issues, including front-of-house areas, auditorium layout and form, stage and backstage planning, technical installations and acoustics.

The Theatre Planning Committee is independent of all of the main funding organisations, but the observations made by the Committee can be of considerable value where capital projects are being prepared for submission to funding bodies. To obtain the maximum benefit the Committee’s review is most valuable during the design development stage (RIBA Stage D).

What does it Cost?

The ABTT charges a fee for this service, typically about £750, but this may vary depending upon the size of the project.

Our Achievements:

The Theatre Planning Committee has a long history of influencing maior projects in the UK, since its foundation including:

  • Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
  • Birmingham Repertory Theatre
  • The Globe, London
  • Regent Theatre, Stoke on Trent
  • Rose Bruford College Theatre
  • Phoenix Theatre, Blyth


They have also produced the publication: Theatre Buildings: A Design Guide which has become a standard reference work for anyone involved in building, refurbishing, or creating a performance space.

The book takes the reader through the whole process of planning and designing a theatre. It looks in detail at each area of the building: front of house, auditorium, backstage, and administrative offices, giveing specific guidance on sightlines, acoustics, stage engineering, lighting, sound and video, auditorium and stage formats. More information on this book can be found here.