Stufish Entertainment Architects, founded by the late Mark Fisher, has designed The Chimelong Theatre, a bespoke Circus Show Theatre location in Zhuhai, China, specifically on Hengqin Island. The Theatre opened on the 26th of July 2019 to a full house of 6700 visitors. The theatre replaces Chimelong Hengqin International Circus City, which was damaged by a typhoon in 2016.
The form of the theatre is inspired by two iconic circus elements, the form of the tent and the fold of the stage curtain. These curves and undulations wrap a circular theatre volume that houses a semi-in the round thrust-stage auditorium that seats 6700 visitors. The golden façade of the theatre echoes the two influences with two iconic circus colors, red and blue in opposing directions, giving the façade a kind of static motion.
The theatre has been planned to be highly efficient for ingress and egress, with visitors entering at ground level and exiting at the level 1 canopy bridge. This allows for a quick change over and increased daily viewing. For emergency purposes the theatre required many protected stair cores that wrapped the theatre, resulting in the undulating façade and exaggerating the curvature of the theatre crown.
The auditorium seating has been design in two rakes separated by a parade route, above which a track carries scenic elements during key moments in the performance requiring a change over. The theatre façade pierces through the raised forecourt bridge down to the covered entry plaza.
The Chimelong Theatre is one of many permanent projects designed by the studio. In 2014 Stufish were responsible for the design of the Han Show Theatre, located in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and in 2016 Stufish designed the Nanchang Wanda Mall, a 160,000 sqm of luxury retail and entertainment space in Nanchang, China.