Sunday, 14 September 2008

Stage by stage

I'm keeping a record of the massive building project that is transforming the Royal Shakespeare Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon.

Most of the original Victorian building was destroyed by fire in the 1920s.

It was followed by Elisabeth Scott's Odeon-style building which butted on to what was left of the original fabric at the western end - you can see a fair chunk of the original building to the right of the top picture.

By the 1980s the building housed two auditoriums: the 'main house' seating roughly 1100 people - and the 450-seater Swan Theatre, housed in the horseshoe-shaped space at the back of the original building.

Last spring, the building closed for redevelopment.
  • October 2007 (top): The whole of the main auditorium is removed, but Scott's facade and foyer will be retained.
  • July 2008 (middle): Demolition complete - a huge cavity where stage and auditorium once were.
  • September 2008: Work is well under way on the galleries that will surround the new thrust-stage performing space.
On the Avon side, the building is being stripped bak to its original 1930s aspect - and there will be a new, accessible riverside promenade.

I've been relishing performances here since August 1967.

Sad about the changes? Not at all. I've a strong feeling that the renewed building is going to be a massive success when it opens in 2010.

Read more here: Theatre transformation.

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