RSC/RST Main House, Stratford upon Avon. UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Bear and Ragged
N 52° 11.459 W 001° 42.259
30U E 588568 N 5783071
Quick Description: The main theatre for the RSC (Royal Shakespeare Company) in Stratford upon Avon. Often called the "Jam Factory" by locals, before the work started in 2006 to re-build the theatre.
Location: West Midlands, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 7/8/2008 1:39:02 PM
Waymark Code: WM4563
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 83

Long Description:
Since it was built in 1932, the existing Royal Shakespeare Theatre has been regarded as fundamentally flawed; a two-room theatre (rather than the one-room space for which Shakespeare wrote) that owes more to cinema design of the period than other theatre buildings.

The current proscenium stage and auditorium have been much altered in an attempt to bring the audience and actors closer together. However, fundamentally, audiences, actors and directors alike have long regarded the RST as a problematic theatre.


The theatre had a proscenium-arch stage, and a seating capacity of about 1000+ people, on three tiers (stalls, circle and balcony, with additional side balconies). Entrance to the balcony is via a separate door. The theatre has several noticeable Art Deco features, including the staircase and corridors at either side of the auditorium.

It is a Grade II* listed building.

The Swan Theatre and the RST (more commonly known as the Main House) share a back dock and it is possible to walk from one stage to another.


Potted history of Stratford’s Theatres and RSC sites

Change and reinvention has been a significant part of the RSC site history.

In all some 17 theatres have been purpose built or improvised since 1746.

The Royal Shakespeare Company traces its roots directly to the pioneering work of Charles Edward Flower whose vision and philanthropy established the first permanent Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, 1879.

1764-onwards
The earliest recorded Shakespeare performance was of Othello in the Town Hall of 1764. The legendary celebrations of David Garrick in 1769 did not include any performances of Shakespeare.

1864
For the tercentenary of Shakespeare’s birth, Charles Flower’s wife, Sarah, spearheaded the construction of another rotunda pavilion on the site now occupied by the Avonbank Paddocks development.

1875
Shakespeare Memorial Theatre Ltd incorporated. Charles Edward Flower (Chairman) commissioned the world’s first arts centre (theatre, pictue gallery, library and music room) and gives the land and the greater part of the building costs

1879
Shakespeare Memorial Theatre opened (800 seats), now the Swan Theatre. The Germanic fantasy and towering pinnacles of the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre by Edward Dodgshun and William Unsworth were in their own day an extraordinary and eccentric architectural innovation on the river edge of the Stratford townscape.

1926
Shakespeare Memorial Theatre destroyed by fire. The shell was used for many years afterwards as a conference venue, scenery store and rehearsal room. Performances were temporarily transferred to the Stratford Cinema on Greenhill Street.

1932
After an international fundraising campaign spearheaded by the Flower family, and an international architectural competition, Elisabeth Scott’s Shakespeare Memorial Theatre was opened by The Prince of Wales in 1932.

1961
Chartered name of the corporation and the Stratford theatre become ‘Royal Shakespeare’

1974
The Other Place created from a prefabricated former store and rehearsal room in Stratford

1986
The shell of the 1879 theatre was converted to the Swan Theatre

1990
The current The Other Place theatre and rehearsal studios were created on the site of the former corrugated iron sheds which Buzz Goodbody turned into a studio theatre in the late 1970s.

2006 onwards
The Royal Shakespeare Company will transform their main theatre into a modern day Shakespeare theatre. The new renovations will include a thrust stage able to seat over 1,030 audience members, expanding and renovating public areas including a new rooftop café and restaurant, and improving backstage conditions for the actors and crew. The new theatre will also be more accessible to people with disabilities, and offer a more comfortable theatre experience.

2011
4th March.
Officially re-opened by the Queen.
Theater Name: RST main house

Country: UK

Address:
Royal Shakespeare Theatre
Waterside
Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire UK
CV37 6


Web Site: [Web Link]

Venue: Other (specify in narrative)

Type of Productions:
Re-opened following major revamp.


Restored Building: yes

Date of Construction: 1932

Architect/Designer: Elisabeth Scott

Stage Type: Thrust

Seating Capacity: 1000

Special Productions/Events/Festivals: Not listed

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