Transforming our theatres

Over recent years we have been transforming our theatres in Stratford-upon-Avon to create the best spaces for audiences, visitors and artists.

Our redeveloped Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres opened in 2010 and the next phase of our transformation included:

  • The return of The Other Place as a new small-scale, flexible studio theatre on its original site, with new rehearsal rooms and, for the first time, public access to our costume store via our Page to Stage tour.
  • Restoration of the Grade II listed Swan Wing, including the creation of a new exhibition, The Play’s The Thing, which reveals the secrets and stories behind the making of our world famous production.
  • The re-configuration of our Grade II listed costume workshop to ensure this crucial aspect of theatre production remains world class.

The Other Place and Swan Wing projects opened in Spring 2016, to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. 

The outside of the original The Other Place theatre
The Other Place in 1978 - the original building
Photo by Joe Cocks Studio Collection © Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Browse and license our images

The outside of the building looks very similar and the space is also available for commercial hires.

The theatre opened in Spring 2016 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. 

The Other Place has been made possible thanks to the support of private and public funders, including very generous donations from ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND, THE GATSBY CHARITABLE FOUNDATION, BACKSTAGE TRUST, J PAUL GETTY JR CHARITABLE TRUST and a new creative partnership with the University of Birmingham, Founding Partner of The Other Place.

The Other Place

Originally built in 1973, The Other Place studio theatre was home to our new work in Stratford-upon-Avon. The theatre housed many landmark productions involving actors including Judi Dench, Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren. It closed its doors in 2006 to make way for the temporary Courtyard Theatre, where we performed during the transformation of the Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres.

We have retained the existing structure of The Courtyard Theatre and have remodelled its internal space to create a vibrant, new mixed-use The Other Place which includes:

  • A 200 seat studio theatre built within the existing steel structure of The Courtyard Theatre
  • A new home for our Costume Store, giving public access to our 30,000 costumes for the first time through a new theatre tour
  • Two new rehearsal rooms
  • A new café bar with free wifi
The Other Place photos_ April 2016_2016_Photo by Stewart Hemley _c_ RSC_190139
Our 200 seat auditorium at The Other Place
Photo by Stewart Hemley © RSC Browse and license our images

The Swan Wing

We have restored the facade and interior of the building, revealing the hidden heritage within the Swan Wing and enhancing the beautiful public spaces.

Alongside the restoration, we opened our first ever permanent exhibition, The Play’s The Thing, devoted to the staging of Shakespeare’s plays. The exhibition opened in 2016. Visitors can discover the secrets and stories behind the making of our world famous productions. They can also see some of our beautifully crafted costumes and props, learn how magical and gory stage is created, and how sound effects are made. 

The immersive exhibition features treasures from our archive including rarely-seen props, exquisite costumes and original set designs. It also reveals some of our more gory theatrical secrets, including snapping carrots to replicate the noise of breaking bones, puffed rice cereal and glue to make scabs and soup to represent vomit.

The Play’s The Thing includes hands-on digital interactives which will transport visitors behind the scenes where they can experience what it feels like to stand on stage, try on costumes made in our costume workshops or get creative as set designers.

The refurbishment of the Swan Wing was made possible through a £2.8 million award from the HERITAGE LOTTERY FUND, with generous support from THE TUBNEY CHARITABLE TRUST, GARFIELD WESTON FOUNDATION, DCMS/WOLFSON MUSEUMS & GALLERIES IMPROVEMENT FUND, THE WOLFSON FOUNDATION and many other generous supporters.

The Swan Bar with cakes in glass cabinets
The Swan Bar, 2016
Photo by Sara Beaumont © RSC Browse and license our images

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