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Restoration of decorative plasterwork in the Isaac Theatre Royal by Plaster Services

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Edwardian theatre restoration with decorative plasterwork on auditorium dome, royal boxes, mouldings, by Plaster Services

Restoration of decorative plasterwork in the Isaac Theatre Royal by Plaster Services


Historic photos and plaster fragments – those were the only clues left to help the team that was commissioned to capture and authentically reproduce critical features of the original plasterwork in the Isaac Theatre Royal.

Christchurch-based Plaster Services worked closely with the conservation architect to undertake the salvage and storage of all the plaster elements. This included evaluation and reinstatement of all the original mouldings, such as the royal box fronts and the central rosette on the auditorium dome.

Director Gary Watson says a key challenge of the project was the need to comply with current building codes without compromising the original shape or appearance of the plasterwork.

"Our team is highly experienced in heritage restoration. We were able to develop the appropriate methodology to reconstruct the plaster surfaces and decorative elements with stronger, more flexible and lighter Plasterglass fibrous plaster."

Watson says conservation of the dome's rosette and reconstruction of the 12m-wide collar was particularly challenging.


"Fitting new plaster segments to the newly strengthened but distorted structure was a mammoth challenge – it was like working in an igloo while lying on our backs.

"The enthusiastic response we have received from heritage architects and artisans globally has made this an especially rewarding project."

For details, contact Plaster Services, PO Box 22769, Christchurch 8140, phone (03) 366 1776.

First published date: 21 April 2015

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