The George Wood Theatre has been the site of prayers, pageants and performances since the building’s original construction as a chapel for the Royal Naval School in 1854.
Tucked away on the north west side of the College Green (formerly known as the back-field) it also served as the Royal Naval School’s biggest teaching space.
The Chapel’s Original Design
The illustration above is from the special fund-raising brochure circulated in 1852 to accrue the budget for the building from donations.
The target for the ‘Chapel Building Fund’ was £3,000 which in 2018 would have a purchasing power of £406,767.36.
The floor design accurately shows the architecture of the interior that remained the same until the early 1960s prior to its conversion for professional theatre production.
The circular seating maximised the capacity for the 400 pupils for whom the original main building was constructed along with all the ‘servants and officers.’
The brochure said that ‘open seats are provided for the pupils, slightly radiating to the Pulpit, Desk, and Communion Table to the East, so as to afford perfect inspection.’