In 2021, its Diamond Jubilee year, the Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT) undertook to revise Theatre Buildings: A Design Guide (Routledge, 2010). This new edition (Routledge, 2023) has substantially re-written text with fresh images and entirely new reference projects, providing essential guidance for all those engaged in the design of theatre buildings. Edited by Margaret Shewring (Emeritus Reader, University of Warwick, former Director of the Postgraduate Diploma and MA in Theatre Consultancy), this new publication is written by a team of international experts, architects, theatre consultants, acousticians, engineers and industry professionals led by Tim Foster (Foster Wilson Size) and Robin Townley (CEO of the ABTT).

    It provides an invaluable resource for those looking to build, remodel or conserve theatre buildings, taking into account the significant changes which have taken place in the last twelve years in all aspects of theatre design and technical practice. It locates those changes in the wider context of the need for sustainability in the theatre industry in response to the climate emergency, inclusivity, diversity of access, placemaking and concerns for health and wellbeing.

    This new edition provides guidance for anyone who seeks inspiration and encouragement to create or improve a place of entertainment or who seeks to understand what might be required to accommodate an audience for the presentation of live performance and the successful use, operation and organisation of such a venue.

    Its generous format and the thirty-two new reference projects, more than 260 high-resolution colour images and 175 diagrams and specially commissioned plans make it accessible and informative both to the general reader and the professional specialist.

    Section 1: Design principles  Section 2: Developing the brief  Section 3: Social principles for the twenty-first century  Section 4: Front of house and other public spaces  Section 5: Auditorium design principles  Section 6: Auditorium: Sensory and practical imperatives  Section 7: Backstage creative environment  Section 8: The stage and stage machinery  Section 9: Lighting, sound and video  Section 10: Restoration and conversion of existing buildings  Section 11: Moving forwards: a call to action  Reference projects


    Margaret Shewring is Emeritus Reader in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Warwick and former Director of the Diploma and MA in Theatre Consultancy. Much of her research and publication is concerned with spaces for performance from the Renaissance to the present.

    Robin Townley is Chief Executive of the Association of British Theatre Technicians, with over thirty years' experience in the arts and entertainment industry. He is a director of Skillscene and a member of the Standing Committee for Technical Standards for Places of Entertainment.

    Tim Foster is the founding partner in Foster Wilson Architects, now Foster Wilson Size. He is currently chairman of the ABTT Theatre Planning Committee and the International Organisation of Scenographers, Theatre Architects and Technicians (OISTAT) Architecture Commission. He is Fellow of the ABTT and, from 2009–2015, was a trustee of The Theatres Trust.

    David Hamer, a theatre architect working on the design of both new build and refurbished performing arts venues, works for Theatre Projects consultants. He created the drawings for the ABTT book Modern Theatres 1950—2020, published by Routledge in 2021.