Helsinki City Theatre, the biggest professional repertoire theatre in Finland, has recently reopened its doors after an extensive three-year refurbishment and upgrade process. The technical part of the multi-million Euro renovation project was designed and managed by leading international theatre consultants, Theatreplan.
“We were first approached by HCT in 2014 to work with them on a complete refit of the entire building,’ explained Theatreplan director and stage engineering specialist, Dave Ludlam. The project started in March 2014 and was delivered in July 2017 for inauguration in August to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the modern Finnish nation.
Theatreplan carried out work on two of the six stages within the building: the “Big stage’ with a capacity of 947, and the 347-seat “Small stage.’ The big stage now benefits from a re-shaped proscenium which has improved sightlines; increased power flying capacity; two new concentric revolving stages with three elevators inside. “The revolves are now much more flexible, and it’s a lot easier to reconfigure the orchestra pit,’ said Ludlam. “We also put in a new modular floor which is much easier to use than the previous solution, and all goes towards making the stage a far more versatile and easy-to-work-with space. The small stage also benefits from a new revolve, modular floor and expanded point hoist system with significantly increased capacity.’
Theatreplan also designed brand new audio and lighting installations for both venues.
HCT technical director, Antti Rehtijarvi, is delighted with the results. “We asked Theatreplan to concentrate on making the venues more flexible and easier to work with, and that is exactly what they have done,’ he remarked. “The improvements to the revolves and the flooring have made both theatres much easier to work in from a technical point of view – the technical staff and stagehands are delighted – and our audiences benefit from the improved sightlines and the new audio and lighting systems. We found Theatreplan’s stage engineering expertise to be absolutely invaluable. The flexible approach adopted by Dave and the rest of the team enabled us to achieve – even surpass – the results we were hoping for and still stay within budget.