The Bandstand Amphitheatre

Our goal with the bandstand amphitheatre project, which also features The Oval Pavilion, is to revitalise the 130-year-old sunken amphitheatre with improved facilities that will bring the local community and visitors together through more varied events and social activities. The plans involve constructing an improved pavilion that includes a cafe for the community, offering training and job opportunities, better toilet facilities, and an events bar, which is crucial for financially supporting our events, most of which are free to enter.

The proposed layout is designed around the existing structures in the amphitheatre. The primary ramped entrance, located towards the northern edge of the site, provides a grand sense of arrival and guides visitors down to the second tier of the bandstand terraces. We are proposing some changes to the steps at this location as this will enable people to move around more freely upon arrival, allowing them to either locate seating for performances on the eastern side of the amphitheatre or explore the food and drink options on the western side. This area includes the kiosk, pavilion, and the proposed shipping container retail units offering food and beverages from local businesses.

The bandstand amphitheatre mostly features hard surfaces: the three sloped terraces are a muddled combination of concrete, red engineering bricks, and yellow Edwardian porcelain tiles. What remains of the fence that once fully enclosed the space in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s is made of concrete, and the pavilion is covered in vertically stacked brown ceramic tiles. Our goal for the amphitheatre is to add softer elements made of wood. These include raised planters with displays of vibrant plants, recycling stations with helpful signage, a fence either side of the pavilion covered in climbing plants, and a spacious decked terrace with picnic tables painted in lively colours. The colour palette at The Oval draws inspiration from the vibrant hues seen at traditional fairgrounds but with a modern twist using more contemporary shades. We focus on four main colours: pink, green, blue, and yellow. White serves as the base colour, often seen on our wooden street furniture and various architectural elements within the amphitheatre, while black accents the bandstand, handrails, and metal street furniture.

Railings and Boundary Treatments

Boundary treatments at the Oval are to be sufficiently robust to prevent unlawful access at the same time as presenting as an attractive feature. The new boundary fence enclosing The Oval amphitheatre will be 1.8m high and designed to deter people from climbing over. It will be constructed using temporary Heras fence panels painted black, and supported by fully demountable steel scaffold posts, which will be randomly painted in The Oval’s four main feature colours.

Covered Areas
We plan to set up ground-fixed covered areas at the north and south gate entrances, around the kiosk, and along the top terrace on the eastern side of the amphitheatre. These spaces will feature waterproof canvas solar sails attached to galvanised steel poles and they are designed to be easily removed. The covered seating areas aim to make our events more financially sustainable by preventing us from losing our audience in bad weather. Moreover, the covered areas at the entrances will provide protection from the elements for our security staff and stewards.

Shipping Containers
Our proposal includes adding two new 20ft shipping containers and one new 10ft shipping container to the bandstand amphitheatre, in addition to the 20ft storeroom already present on-site. This expansion aims to create up to five new retail units for local food and beverage businesses. These containers will be equipped with electricity and a water supply and will be connected to our wastewater drainage system. Inspired by the success of Ellington Park, one of these units is earmarked to become a community bookshop. We envisage that profits generated from this bookshop will support additional community events hosted at The Oval.

Café Terrace
The café terrace was strategically placed to reconnect the north and south terraces, which were cut off from one another due to the position of the pavilion, restoring the bandstand to its original ‘in-the-round’ theatre layout. This addition also offered a chance to include a ramp that meets DDA standards, providing step-free access for visitors and performers to the lower bandstand area. Additionally, the terrace serves as a flat and accessible space for permanent seating, crucial to support the new café inside the pavilion. Made entirely of timber, the terrace was designed as a
‘floating’ structure, causing no damage to the hardstanding as it’s held in place solely by its own weight.

Raised Planters
Raised planters are used on top of existing walls or plinths, or where temporary or moveable planters are required rather than planting permanently and directly into the ground. The proposed raised planters have been designed in such a way that they do not decompose over time and can be lifted and moved safely. With all raised beds, there is an additional maintenance burden to prevent plants from drying out, so they will only be installed where such additional maintenance is able to be provided.

The Oval Pavilion
The height of the proposed development is informed by the existing building, which is a single storey structure. Maintaining this as the maximum height for all structures on site will ensure sign-lines from the surrounding properties are maintained to maximise sea views. The current tiled exterior of the pavilion is severely damaged, with numerous missing sections and spots filled with screed with drawn lines mimicking tile pattern. Our plan involves sourcing replicas of these tiles to restore the structure’s exterior. Additionally, we aim to create new door and window openings within the building’s structure, repairing these openings using the replicated tiles to maintain consistency across the facade. As security is a concern at The Oval, these openings will be safeguarded using surface mounted roller shutters painted in a colour to match the brown tiles, ensuring both functionality and aesthetic continuity.

Inside the pavilion, we’re planning a new layout to maximise the limited space and enhance its functionality. This includes reorganising entrances to the toilets, combining male and female cubicles into one room to create non-gendered facilities, and setting up a separate urinal room to prevent queues forming during busy times. Space previously used by the underutilised toilet layouts has been transformed into an events bar, supporting our various free community events. The old storeroom will become an indoor community café, ensuring our presence on site throughout the year, not just during the summer season. Our storage needs have been met by using the existing shipping containers located in the auditorium and gardening area. The café aims to accommodate indoor seating for about ten people and outdoor seating for dozens more. We plan to preserve existing internal tiled surfaces, when possible, while introducing a new fully insulated plasterboard ceiling, updated lighting, a service counter, adaptable commercial kitchen fixtures and fittings, and a wall mounted extract hood.