Collaborative Success in Transforming the Shaftesbury Theatre with a Luxury Basement Extension


SubStructural, a leading basement design specialist, is known for delivering exceptional results on diverse property types by collaborating with experienced professionals in the industry. One of our most notable projects was the assistance in the design and execution of the basement extension at the Shaftesbury Theatre, a renowned theatre in Central London. In this case study, we will delve into the challenges we faced, the innovative solutions employed in collaboration with the lead consultant, MJC, and JMS Engineers, and the stunning results that showcase basement conversions.

Project Overview:

The Shaftesbury Theatre project involved designing and constructing a large basement extension both beneath the existing structure and projecting out under the pavement to Shaftesbury Avenue and High Holborn, and connecting back to the theatre. The client required a high-quality, functional space that would seamlessly integrate with the theatre’s historic architecture while providing the necessary amenities to support the theatre’s ongoing and future operations. The team of experienced engineers worked closely to create a customized basement conversion plan that would meet the unique needs and preferences of the client.


Several challenges presented themselves during the project, including:

Preserving the historic structure: As the Shaftesbury Theatre is a listed building, it was crucial to ensure that the construction process would not compromise the building’s structural integrity or architectural features. The theatre itself had to be partially underpinned.

Limited access: The theatre’s central location meant that there was limited space for construction equipment and materials, making the logistics of the project more complex.

Tight timeline: To minimise disruption to the theatre’s operations, the project had to be completed within a timeframe to minimise the “dark time” i.e. when shows could not perform..

Covid lockdowns: The works were carried out during the Covid lockdowns, adding an additional layer of complexity to the project management and execution.

Innovative Solutions:

To overcome these challenges, SubStructural, MJC, and JMS Engineers implemented a range of innovative solutions:

Detailed structural analysis: The design teams conducted a comprehensive structural analysis to ensure that the existing theatre building and the new basement extension would be structurally sound and compatible with one another.

Collaboration and communication: Effective communication and collaboration between all parties involved were essential to overcoming the project’s challenges. Regular meetings and updates ensured that everyone was aligned and working towards the same goals.

Efficient logistics management: To address the limited access and space constraints, the teams coordinated to develop a detailed logistics plan to provide the necessary designs, drawings and details and adjusted these as works evolved.


The Shaftesbury Theatre basement extension project showcased the power of collaboration and innovation in overcoming complex challenges. By working closely with MJC and JMS Engineers, SubStructural assisted in delivering a stunning and functional basement conversion that met the client’s needs and exceeded expectations



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