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London’s New Diorama Theatre to open new rehearsal facility

The New Diorama Theatre in London is to open more than 4,000sq metres of affordable rehearsal spaces next month.

The New Diorama’s latest initiative, ND2, opens next door to the theatre on May 1. The property has been gifted to the theatre by British Land for a year. It is 20 times the size of the NDT’s current performance space and includes six rehearsal rooms, storage facilities and a large atrium.

At a total size of 4,173sq metres, ND2 is larger than other London rehearsal spaces including Diorama Arts Centre, Jerwood Studios and RADA Rehearsal Rooms. The building’s smallest space, the Enigma Room, is the size of many of central London’s largest spaces and measures 5 metres x 17 metres x 3 metres.

The space also features a six-storey-high central atrium that will function as a performance space and green room.

The Atrium, formerly the trading floor of JP Morgan, will be used for large-scale performances that will be announced in the NDT’s programme this summer.

Two spaces, the Rosa Room and the Seagull Room, are reserved for NDT-supported artists and the Bamer Project, which provides free rehearsal space for black, Asian, minority ethnic and refugee-led theatre companies. The remaining studios will be available to rent at a subsidised price by external companies.

Studio spaces are fully accessible with blackout capabilities, soundproofing and Wi-Fi. Companies will have 'all you can eat' 24-hour access to the building, which has full-time security and storage facilities.

David Byrne, artistic director of the NDT, said: “Rehearsal space is hard to find and, increasingly, to find free or low-cost rehearsal space you have to go to the outskirts of London. With a lot of artists living further out of London, those services are becoming really difficult for them to use.

“This is [an] opportunity for us to have spaces somewhere central that is easy for [artists] to get to and closer to the theatre.”

He continued: “It introduces us to artists we were otherwise not meeting. A lot of those companies we are now feeding into our main programme, which is wonderful.

“We are hoping it’s going to mean we are supporting more artists, more of the time, with more space.”

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