Royal Shakespeare Company Raises £100 Million for Stratford-upon-Avon Redevelopment

News   Royal Shakespeare Company Raises £100 Million for Stratford-upon-Avon Redevelopment
 
It was announced April 19 that the Royal Shakespeare Company has secured the over £100 million (approximately $200 million) needed for the redevelopment plans for its theatres in Stratford-upon-Avon.

The funds were acquired — by major national and international donors — as the RSC "received planning consent for the major element of the transformation project," according to the announcement. The Stratford District Council passed a "resolution to grant planning permission" for the project, which now must be approved by the Government Office for the West Midlands before construction can begin.

"We are extremely grateful to everyone who has come together, to bring us to this moment where we have a project that the Council approves," said RSC artistic and executive directors Michael Boyd and Vikki Heywood. "We very much look forward to continuing this work with partners old and new, to build the best theatre in the world for Shakespeare."

With this benchmark in the acquisition, the company has now built upon its original plans, expanding the project to £112.8 million ($225 million).

The original plans center on building a new thrust mainstage with a 1,000-seat auditorium, "a modern take on the courtyard theatres of Shakespeare's day."

Among the elements in the redevelopment:

  • a larger roof ("that floats dramatically over the retained Art Deco facade and then extends south to wrap around the existing flytower and backstage wings")
  • redesign of the 35-metre tall tower (to include "an insulated and waterproofed viewing room within...an open-air cantilevering viewing platform [above the room]... [And] three brick walls that taper and twist towards the top of the tower contain the inner steel structure, the stairs and lifts")
  • an accessible riverside walkway running alongside the theatres ("enhancing access to the river and gardens")
  • a new street-like foyer space added to the west façade (linking the theatres and forming a new main entrance)
  • expanded and fully accessible public areas with improved facilities for audiences
  • a public square ("providing a meeting place and outdoor space for music and performance")
  • improved and accessible backstage conditions for artists and stage crew ("including new dressing rooms as well as training, study and rehearsal spaces") The further improvements include:

  • a double-height rooftop restaurant with dual views across the River Avon and Bancroft lawns
  • increased space and facilities for artists and staff
  • restoring the original riverside façade, the foyer and circle bar of the 1932 building If approved, work is scheduled to begin April 30 with an expected completion in 2010. During the redevelopment, The Courtyard Theatre will serves as the main home with the RSC also using other venues in Stratford-upon-Avon, such as the Civic Hall. The Swan Theatre will remain open with a full programming through Aug. 18. (The RSC will also continue to perform its annual season in London and maintain its full national and international touring schedule.)

    For more information, visit the RSC at www.rsc.org.uk.

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