The internet proves we are all nosy. It provides a place where we can snoop on other people’s lives without fear of being caught.

In reality, though, nothing beats having a look round someone else’s house for a view into their private lives.

Sarah Davies, a theatre director and drama teacher whose new work opens at New Venture Theatre tomorrow, admits she loves nothing more than indulging in a little voyeurism.

“I am nosy,” she says, “Brighton is full of beautiful buildings and people don’t put up net curtains, so you can see right in.”

She loved the work by Brighton-based theatre company dreamthinkspeak when it took over the Co-op building in London Road.

The company’s take on Anton Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard put the audience centre-stage. Every visitor could see behind the scenes and peer into the hidden spaces of the building as well as the production. What’s more, the punters had an active role in the show.

“I was blown away,” she says of seeing Before I Sleep. “I thought I would like to do something like that.”

So The Building will make full use of the 172-year-old edifice which houses the New Venture Theatre (itself more than 50 years old) before it reopens in September after a £20,000 revamp and refurbishment.

This is the first time a production will use the entire building.

“We have never done anything like this before. If you are interested in the building then it is the ideal opportunity to come to have a look because we have free rein over the place.

“You can wander along the corridors, up the stairs, down the back passages and take a moment to study the bends, nooks and crannies of this historic beauty which houses the NVT.”

The building was originally a school allied to a church next door. After a fire destroyed the church in 1958, the site became the NVT’s permanent home.

Davies’ involvement at the theatre is more recent. She directed Talking Dog two years ago and starred in Medea last year.

The Building is a bigger project for the theatre lover who also teaches drama at Patcham High School.

Not only does the production include turning the NVT into a full-size residential building but it is also a devised piece, which means the loose script came after Davies had bandied about character ideas with the 14-person cast.

“We did a lot of work and these characters started to emerge. We looked at who would go with whom and explored relationships. The cast mainly wrote their own scripts after we’d started with monologues and I tweaked here and there.”

Davies says writing collectively makes theatre “inclusive and alive” because it can be improvised.

“Devised theatre is about being open to the process, making it the product of the whole ensemble, but these strong narratives still emerged.”

The hour-long show takes the form of three tours led by different guides. The audience joins with tours led by an ex-Royal Navy man and Blue Badge guide, a businessman who heads up New Venture Properties or an old caretaker who has seen many changes.

“Each guide has a different narrative strand and it’s mainly their narrative. The story is not A to Z – the audience has to fill in the gaps.

“I am keen on theatre that touches on emotions and thinking, not treating audiences like idiots. They have to work it out, but they are in character as well.”

Davies hopes if groups of friends come they could each go on a different tour and discuss the results at the end, and ask questions which others might have the answers to.

She lives in a communal building in Hove which has been chopped into flats. Its transformation got her thinking about the proximity neighbours have been thrown into and inspired her social commentary.

She cites Edward Hopper’s paintings – filled with alienation, isolation, loss – and Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window as inspirations.

The Building is a performance about contemporary Brighton, though, and Davies compares it to a gritty version of Open Houses.

“It’s not only looking in but also looking out.”

There are characters who have got lost in the drink and drugs scene; others are involved with Pride; there are NHS trust workers, old folks, writers.

“It’s about the challenges modern society has thrown at us. You can get angry or get communal. And I hope people think about that, but not in a didactic way.”