Great Hall, Kent College Canterbury

Kent College Canterbury is an independent school dating from 1885. Founded by Wesleyan Methodists with an initial intake of just five pupils, the campus has grown to cover an impressive 70-acre semi-rural site. Unusually it also has access to an adjacent farm, partly managed by staff and pupils. In 2016 a second school was opened in Dubai and there are future plans for a presence in Hong Kong.

Kent College Canterbury (photo credit: KCC)

The original Canterbury location has seen additional buildings added as the school has expanded. A few years ago the decision was taken to build a major new hall. This would serve as a venue for assemblies and worship, along with concerts and drama.

Great Hall under construction

The hall was designed by architects HazleMcCormackYoung with structural engineers CTP and mechanical and electrical engineers BSP. Adrian James Acoustics was appointed early on at Stage 2 to carry out acoustic design and theatre consultancy roles for this project.


Key to the hall’s flexibility was the stage engineering design. The stage can transform from an open concert platform to a fully-masked proscenium stage for drama, with a capacity adjustable between 389 and 600 seats.

Hall nearing completion

In April 2018 a ceremony of groundbreaking took place, attended by local dignitaries. Less than 18 months later, the hall was ready for commissioning, and a service of dedication was held – ushering a new chapter in the history of the College. AJA’s Principal Acoustics and Theatre Consultant Ian Rees was there to attend this special event.

Overstage suspension systems
Proscenium flipper panel

The Great Hall is now fully operational, and in late October acted as the venue for two concerts in the Canterbury Festival. This new relationship with the Festival is one of the benefits which the new hall will offer to the city as well as to the school itself.

Members of the Great Hall design team, including AJA’s Ian Rees (right)

This article will be updated as the hall matures to its full potential. Meanwhile Adrian James Acoustics is delighted to have been part of the team behind this substantial new landmark.