Situated next to their studio space (The Other Place), the new venue will house 1,000 seats and is planned to be ready for the Complete Works of Shakespeare Festival in April 2006. Work on the Royal Shakespeare Theatre will then start in 2007, at which time the RSC ensemble will perform in the new venue until the RST reopens in 2009 (though other Stratford venues are being scouted as possible spaces for mid and small-scale work). The venue, as designed by the architect Ian Ritchie, will be sound proof so that it doesn’t disturb neighboring homes. It will also have heating and air conditioning. The Other Place will house foyer and other facilities for the new auditorium. According to The New York Times, the RSC’s new space will be painted “autumnal red” and is budgeted at around $7.8 million.
Michael Boyd, the RSC’s artistic director, said in a press statement, “We don’t want our audiences stuck in a temporary waiting room until we re-open the RST in 2009. Although temporary, we want to create an exciting theatrical space, with all the facilities our audiences expect. In many ways, the auditorium will be a prototype for the new RST, allowing us to test and experiment with our ambitions for a one-room thrust stage.”
Recent years have seen some very successful temporary moves by companies whose bases were being renovated. The Almeida created a much admired performance venue from a one-time trains warehouse in King’s Cross, while the Royal Court was also praised for its tenancy at the West End’s New Ambassador’s Theatre.