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Work on site
There are currently over 300 people working on site each day, with skills including paving, electrics, plumbing, logistics, heritage joinery, auditorium metalwork, air handling system installation and lift engineers.
Theatre TowerThe Royal Shakespeare Theatre's (RST) Theatre Tower was inspired by the water tower that was part of the 1879 Memorial Theatre (now the Swan Theatre). So the architect’s, Bennetts Associates, desire to have a new tower reflects Stratford-upon-Avon’s history, and also has the practical advantage of providing access to all levels of the RST, ensuring the new building is easier for everybody to get around.
The new Theatre Tower is 36 metres high, and there is also a viewing platform 32 metres up, which offers stunning views stretching as far as the Vale of Evesham.
There are 134 steps up to the viewing platform, but don’t worry – there is also a lift.
As part of the plan to keep as many of the theatre’s original features as possible, the heritage joinery that was stripped out of the old theatre, such as doors and the timber fins from the Circle Bar, will be returned to the building.
The Courtyard Theatre has been used as a prototype for the new RST. However, the dimensions of the new stage will be slightly different.The RST stage will be 26cm shorter and 20cm less wide than The Courtyard’s.
The Courtyard: 10.51 metres
New RST: 10.25 metres
The Courtyard: 7.4 metres
New RST: 7.2 metres
The smaller stage of the RST will bring benefits for the designers, as its geometry will ensure easier fit-outs, for example, when laying slabs or paving. The smaller stage will also make the auditorium more intimate as it enables us to reduce the size of the room itself.
There are 15 dressing rooms in the new RST, all with balconies over-looking the river. They all have the same standard of finish and each room will have a fridge, space for costume rails, personal lockers and a sink.
The size of the rooms varies, with the majority designed for a maximum of four people, although they will be more likely to be used by three with our typical performance model. The largest room accommodates eight.
The dressing rooms were designed using a full-sized mock-up and many conversations with actors and staff over the last few years. We’ve also trialled different elements in The Courtyard, such as the use of low-energy light-bulbs which replicate the stage lighting.
Trying to find eco-friendly lighting that is the right colour temperature to replicate stage lighting took a long time with a lot of different lamps tried before we got it right.
Old tungsten lights, which are used at The Courtyard, add a lot of heat to the rooms and are very hot to touch, so low energy lighting will help to keep the rooms cool.