The Bishop Centre, Godolphin and Latymer School London, United Kingdom

Kit of parts within a church

The Bishop Centre, Godolphin and Latymer School




The Godolphin and Latymer School is a notable independent day school for girls in west London where the arts form an important part of the educational experience. The school had the vision of using the adjacent Grade II* listed church as a performing arts centre and asked Anne Minors Performance Consultants to undertake a detailed feasibility study.

Exploring how a new lease of life might be given to an under-used listed building, the AMPC study examined a light touch adaptation to allow for worship, assembly, examinations, concerts and drama within the one space, whilst remaining respectful to the architecture. The study also included work by Sound Space Design on variable acoustics for both drama and music, and analysed the loading demands on the existing structure that such a conversion would impose. A transformation of the church as outlined in the study was approved by the school, providing up to 800 seats for assemblies and up to 200 seats for performance use, as well as provision for wider community use.

Working with conservation architects Burrell Foley Fisher, AMPC conceived a large sunken well in the nave floor infilled with a series of height-adjustable rostra. At full height the rostra provide a completely flat floor for assemblies. When the rostra are set at staggered heights they create a smaller stepped auditorium with a raised stage that maintains level access for performers.

It was decided to use the east end of the church for music and the west end of the church for drama, which allowed AMPC to optimize spatial arrangements in each area, offering intimacy for drama and reverberation for music. AMPC’s technical installation designs provide adjustable acoustic, and theatrical drapes, flexible lighting and sound systems that may be operated from multiple locations, with the option to fly scenery out of view above the stage.

The Bishop Centre has proved very popular with staff, pupils and parents alike, offering a diverse range of exciting staging configurations which the school says is “limited only by the imagination.” The audience is accommodated in comfort and style, whilst the pupils’ performance and production experience has been enriched.