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Client: Wilderness School

Location: Medindie, SA

Completion: 2016



Steve Grieve

Michael Buchtmann

Emma Scott

Elizabeth Little

The expanded Newman Theatre provides Wilderness School with a flexible, multi-functional building for school assemblies, theatre performances, drama instruction, dance, music performance, auditorium presentations and school functions.

Dating from the 1950s, the theatre occupies a site central to the school campus. Bounded by the original school house, Brown’s House to the north and the campuses primary open space Memorial Lawns to the south.The existing building fabric was carefully and extensively assessed to establish suitability for retention and adaptation.


The site is on the Adelaide Airport flightpath, therefore extensive acoustic treatment to the roof, existing walls and openings, effectively isolates the space from external noise sources. Internal planning saw dressing rooms positioned on a lower level below the stage to contain internal noise spill of the students’ performance excitement and nerves.

Unique to a traditional theatre space, the Newman Theatre features a glass wall behind the stage, providing a connection through the building to the Memorial Lawns during function mode. The glass wall can be blacked out in theatre function. Given the attachment of the School to the original building, the architecture of the theatre additions and expansion is deliberately restrained and understated, rather than compete it responds and enhances the original fabric.

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