The Need for Change
Elisabeth Scott's original theatre
The 1932 Royal Shakespeare Theatre, designed by Elisabeth Scott, was one of the very few theatres constructed in a period dominated by a new fashion for cinema. Its cinema-style, fan-shaped auditorium failed to inspire later theatres and has caused critical problems for artistic directors and actors ever since it was built.
- Shakespeare wrote his plays for theatres where the actors and audience shared the same space. As the RSC’s main stage for Shakespeare productions, the theatre needs to be more sympathetic to the needs of Shakespeare’s plays by creating a ‘one room’ auditorium.
- At the distance of 27 metres from the stage the furthest seats are too far to see the expressions on the actors' faces.
- The public spaces – the foyers, restaurants, shops, bars and exhibition areas – are inadequate and a growing concern among audiences and visitors.
- The RSC’s theatres offer only limited access to people with disabilities and the new theatre will make major improvements.
- The RSC lacks a dedicated education space where the RSC team can work with young people and teachers to deepen their understanding of Shakespeare.
- The working environments for staff and actors are out-of-date and cramped.