Theatre Porto

Ellesmere Port, Cheshire
2016 - 2022

Bennetts Associates works closely with the theatre in Ellesmere Port to transform the locally listed Whitby Hall into a purpose-built arts centre focused around work by and for children and young people. The project includes a contemporary extension which houses a 150-seat flexible studio and a purpose-built rehearsal and events space offering amenities for the whole community.

The venue is the only specialist, purpose-built theatre and cultural centre for children and young people in Cheshire and is one of a small number across England.


The bold, contemporary addition to the original Hall stands as a partner to the local landmark, celebrating the opportunities it brings to the park. The simple form and geometry of the building are set back from the main fa├žade, echoing the composition of the Hall, and terracotta-coloured cladding ties the two together.


The historic house has been restored with contemporary theatre facilities added. This will secure the use of the building for generations to come and provide amenities for the whole community.

Adrian Lonsdale, Associate Director, Bennetts Associates


The project makes a number of innovative measures to reduce its environmental impact in both the construction and operation of the building. 

By reusing the original Victorian Hall and using a timber frame construction, the building greatly reduces its embodied carbon footprint. Solar panels that have been reused on the roof contribute to the day-to-day energy use of the building.


An advanced, passive ventilation system draws air naturally through the theatre space for heating and cooling purposes. Supporting the work of Theatre Porto, the building gives a new home to the exceptional, creative work the theatre does.


Project Information

  • Client
  • Action Transport Theatre / Cheshire West and Chester Council
  • Area
  • 860 sqm (existing and new)
  • Contractor