Planning application submitted
- 14 December 2006
The RSC have this week submitted a planning application for the transformation of its theatres in Stratford-upon-Avon to the local authority, Stratford-on-Avon District Council.
Designs from project architects Bennetts Associates will retain the key Art Deco elements of the Grade II* listed theatre while creating a more welcoming, combined entrance for both the Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres.
At the heart of the project is a new main stage for the Company, designed with theatre consultants Charcoalblue. The RSC’s ambition is to create a modern take on the courtyard theatres of Shakespeare’s day, with a thrust stage auditorium seating just over 1,000 people.
Since outline sketches for the project were published in June 2006, revisions have been made to the roof and the new tower. The revised design accommodates a larger roof that floats dramatically over the retained Art Deco façade and then extends south to wrap around the existing flytower and backstage wings. The new auditorium roof reflects the faceted nature of the theatre below.
Revisions to the design of the 35 metre tall tower have resulted in the creation of an insulated and waterproofed viewing room within the walls of the tower offering views over the town and the river. Above the viewing room an open-air cantilevering viewing platform, which opens out to reveal expansive views across Stratford and the surrounding countryside. Three brick walls that taper and twist towards the top of the tower contain the inner steel structure, the stairs and lifts.
Other elements of the scheme include:
- An accessible riverside walkway running alongside the RSC’s theatres enhancing access to the river and gardens;
- A new street-like foyer space added to the west façade linking the RST and Swan and forming a new main entrance to the north;
- Dramatically 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 that connects the theatres and their surrounding environment;
- Improved and accessible backstage conditions for artists and stage crew, including new dressing rooms as well as training, study and rehearsal spaces for actors.
Since June and the publication of outline designs the RSC has continued a wide-ranging programme of public consultation, shaped by its independent Community Forum which was set up in March 2005 and is chaired by Professor Sir Brian Follett. The RSC’s plans have been developed in tandem with the proposals from Stratford-on-Avon District Council and Warwickshire County Council to develop the waterfront area in the town.
Work on the transformation of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre is scheduled to start in Spring 2007 following the RSC’s year-long Complete Works Festival. The Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres will re-open in 2010.