From Italy with love
The new seats for the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (RST) have made the journey over from Italy and are now being installed in the auditorium, marking a very exciting stage of the Transformation Project.
The seats have been manufactured by Italian seating company, Poltrona Frau. Peter Wilson, RSC Project Director, explains some of the work behind their design and manufacture:
"The seats for the new RST auditorium present a considerable design challenge. Unlike the seats in the old proscenium arch theatre, where the variety of relationships and consequently the number of seat types was limited, a thrust stage auditorium requires many variants.
"Some of the variations, such as back angle, are generated by the geometry fo the room or the complexities of reaching seats at the back of the circles. Others, such as seat width or the provision of armrests, are determined by the need to offer the required total number of seats in a room where no-one in the audience is more than 15 metres from the centre of the thrust stage.
"All this has to be achieved whilst getting more than 1,000 seats in a room much more compact than the old RST. We’ve learnt a number of lessons from The Courtyard Theatre, most notably over the comfort of the narrowest, armless seats, and prototype seats have also allowed us to evaluate the designs of the RST’s new seats before going into production.
"Amongst other strengths, Poltrona Frau is experienced in providing seats for a number of marques of Italian sports car and understands exactly how to achieve comfort within a tight 'seat envelope,' the limited space available to fit the seat into whilst leaving suitable inter-row distances. All of these have been carefully calculated by Charcoalblue, our theatre consultants, working closely with the in-house team.
Poltrona Frau also works in the conference seating market and is bringing its expertise to bear on the design of rapidly deployed foldaway seats in disabled spaces, giving us the potential to offer seats at the last minute when wheelchair spaces have not been purchased."
With over 300 people working on site each day, things are progressing very fast and the arrival of the seats represents the last chance for people who would like to name one to guarantee their plaque will be in place before the re-opening of the RST later this year. In order to guarantee a named plaque in time for the re-opening, seats must be named before Friday 2 July 2010.
The 'Take Your Seat,' initiative, which is being spearheaded by David Tennant, has proved to be very popular - if you would like to ‘Take Your Seat,’ you can click here to find out more – and you can also watch our new short film featuring David Tennant.
10,000 people from 49 different countries have lent their support to the Transforming Our Theatres Appeal so far and the Take Your Seat Appeal is just one of the many ways to get involved.