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Newcastle’s School of Drama

Part 1 Project 2011
Nicholas Flatman
University of Newcastle Newcastle Australia
The art of drama as we know it has no credible build up, trailer or preview to the
unveiling of its act. Newcastle’s school of Drama aims at diminishing the boundaries
between the audience and act, the public and students. It’s located on a historically
renowned green field site that intersects a long public pathway connecting the
Newcastle Headland with the Lower Hunter region along the momentous coastline.
This miniscule window of opportunity has been redefined by the building and its giant
fragmented apostles. Small portholes puncture the fractal façade to allow a glimpse of both backstage and forestage performances. The public can see the development of an upcoming performance while at the same time reconnecting themselves with the students and the art of drama.
The buildings form is ever changing, its fractal angles and planes redefine the outline giving a new impression and shape at different intervals along the path. The ramp
transcends the audience up into the apex of the site, allowing windows of opportunity to
see over the South headland and eventually the Eastern horizon lined with Newcastle’s
shipping lane. The outdoor amphitheatre takes a more informal approach, giving no
defined boundary between audience and the performer. The landscape gently descends
towards the stage and coastline, allowing the public to spill out onto grassy knolls.
Originally based on a proscenium theatre, the school however, has no right stage. The
audience has been dissected by the external wall. The portholes, being the eye of the
public, form this missing piece. Stage like steps are carved in the ground to form a small indentation in the landscape, leaving a symbolic gesture to the public that in fact they complete the proscenium theatre.
Newcastle’s school of drama redefines the relationship between audience and performer.
Its very architecture performs for the wider audience, being the city, while the port holes allow interaction at a smaller more intimate human scale.

Nicholas Flatman


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