The Courtyard as a prototype
Deputy Project Manager
- 17 March 2007
Life has not been quiet since the Courtyard opened. I was expecting a few months quiet reflection on how we managed to carry out such a project in 11 months but instead we were straight into assessing how our new theatre worked and what we could learn from our lifesize prototype to help in the design of our permanent home in the RST.
We had all the standard problems of any new building, for weeks it was either too hot or too cold. We painstakingly worked our way through these snags whilst at the same time trying to study how people used the building, what was good and what was bad. We asked for comments from our patrons and we got them. I'm pleased to say as many were good as were bad and nearly all were constructive.
We have learned a lot from our temporary home, in particular about sight lines and acoustics, areas that you can mock up or design on computers until the cows come home but are never proven until you stand in the real space. We are incredibly lucky to have our lifesize model in which to test out our next phase of development.
Already have decided to make the RST stage slightly higher based upon knowledge earned at the Courtyard. The RST's seats will be laid out differently with fewer high seats at the back. Wall and floor finishes are being tested for their acoustic properties and valuable lessons learned from audience feedback.
As well as theatre goers many directors and designers have used the space in the last nine months and we are about to start the process of collating their experiences and ideas and feeding these into the next stage of the RST's design. Perhaps when that's done things will quieten down a bit....