Formal programme of public consultation
As part of the formal consultation Opinion Leader Research conducted in depth focus groups and workshops with residents, members of the local business community, audiences and potential audiences all with varied interests and relationships with the theatre.
The first sessions, which took place in Autumn 2005, explored attitudes and opinions towards the RSC and its initial plans to transform the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and surrounding site. The research showed overwhelming support for the need to change the current Royal Shakespeare Theatre, acknowledging the many shortcomings of the current building and the importance of the RSC to the region.
The majority of participants felt the project provided a once in a lifetime opportunity to address the functional problems of the theatre and importantly how the theatre relates with non-audiences and the town. Many felt that the current building contributed to the theatre being isolated and unwelcoming to visitors due to its closed appearance and heavy doors creating physical barriers. Other shortcomings identified included the inadequate public spaces, additions to the original building obscuring the original design intention, a building which is unrecognisable to visitors and not reflective of the calibre of the RSC.
The extensive report, which was used by architects Bennetts Associates as they developed outline designs, identified some key recommendations:
- People want a theatrical building that reflects the magic that happens inside throughout the building
- A landmark building instantly recognisable the world over and that Stratford can be proud of. A destination in itself
- A theatre which is sympathetic to Stratford’s character and heritage and the remaining elements of the current building
- Improved and expanded public spaces, including the potential for an enhanced food and drink area and a new inviting and open foyer and entrance
- A site which is open and welcoming to those visiting outside of production times, e.g. street café, clearly marked riverside walk, collections, informal public outdoor spaces
- The project should create physical links between the theatre and the town with walkways through and around the site
- The site should create an easy flow from the street to inside
- The participants emphasised the importance of the RSC project to closely integrate with the wider plans for Stratford which are outlined in the 'World Class Stratford' vision
- Outline designs will be available in early spring when further consultation will take place prior to the submission of a planning application.
Download the executive summary - PDF document (63 KB)
Once the outline designs were revealed, some participants from the initial groups were reconvened to discuss how the scheme had developed and their responses to the outline designs.
Download the report - PDF document (136KB)
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