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With just one week until the opening of The Comedy of Errors in Stratford-upon-Avon, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has released new images of the Lydia & Manfred Gorvy Garden Theatre, a specially constructed outdoor performance space located in the Swan Theatre Gardens, flanked by the River Avon and overlooked by the Swan Theatre. 

The new Garden Theatre will open this Summer with a reconceived version of The Comedy of Errors, one of Shakespeare’s earliest and arguably funniest plays, running from 13 July – 26 September. The production, directed by Phillip Breen, was due to be part of the RSC’s 2020 season, but was postponed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Gregory Doran, Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, said; “The creation of The Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Garden Theatre has been a truly amazing feat of collaboration across the Company, our team have worked miracles to design, commission and build a new, temporary outdoor space in just six months so that we can welcome our audiences back, knowing that many feel more confident returning to an outdoor space. It’s looking spectacular and I hope The Comedy of Errors company enjoy working there as much as I hope audiences will enjoy watching the show this Summer”.

The Lydia & Manfred Gorvy Garden Theatre will comprise of 500 seats in total and 310 with social distancing in place.

  • The idea for the theatre was first conceived in February. The decision to build a bespoke outdoor space will allow the RSC to re-open its doors in the safest way this Summer.
  • The theatre is sitting on 900 tonnes of rock laid to stabilise the ground beneath.
  • The theatre is made of a galvanised steel frame with weatherproofed, non-slip ply floors and steps.
  • The seating structure uses 30 tonnes of re-purposed steel framework sourced from neighbouring area Rugby.
  • The outdoor theatre was designed by Arena Group in consultation with the RSC. Arena Group specialize in the delivery of outstanding temporary structures and associated services for event and commercial use. Previous clients include the London 2012 Summer Olympics, The Virgin Money London Marathon and Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink.
  • The ground works, which began on May 24, took four weeks to complete.
  • The construction team removed over 700 cubic meters of soil, laid down a 900-tonne base for the new theatre and laid 100m of new paths, all ahead of the main build which began on 21 June and took place over four days.
  • As part of the build, the RSC has improved 100 metre of paths as part of the project including the Riverside Walkway which is currently very uneven due to tree roots lifting and breaking up the surface.
  • To ensure the ground could take the weight of the theatre – builders dug down approx. 1 metre, levelled the path, created footings for the structure, and filled with quarry stone. This work has also improved the town’s flood defences increasing the capacity for flood water.
  • Along with planning and licensing applications, the RSC conducted extensive surveys of the ground, trees, bats, flood risk, archaeological and acoustic assessment.
  • The Garden Theatre isn’t the first temporary venue to have been built on the banks of the River Avon. In 1769, performer and Director David Garrick built ‘The Pavillion Theatre’ on what is now the Bancroft Gardens for the celebration of the 200th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth. Unfortunately, torrential rain meant that it flooded and the building sank into the soft ground.
  • During the investigative stages of the groundworks for the build, Geotechnical Engineers conducted core samples, six metres down into the garden, during which they discovered remnants of brick, burnt concrete and charcoal. Following confirmation from Warwickshire Archaeology, this debris was confirmed to be left over from the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, which famously burnt down in 1926. 

Phillip Breen’s previous RSC directorial credits include The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Provoked Wife and The Hypocrite. The production is designed by Max Jones with Lighting by Tina MacHugh, Music by Paddy Cunneen, Sound by Dyfan Jones, Movement by Charlotte Broom and Fights by Renny Krupinski

The 2021 production of The Comedy of Errors is sponsored by Darwin Escapes.

For further information, please contact: 

Kate Evans (Media and Communications Manager)

Tel: 07920 244 434


Performance dates:


Tuesday 13 July – Sunday 26 September 2021   

Press Performance: Tuesday 20 July, 6.30pm 

Box Office:, 01789 331111

The RSC is supported using public funding by Arts Council England

The work of the RSC is supported by the Culture Recovery Fund  

The RSC is a recipient of the Weston Culture Fund  

The RSC Acting Companies are generously supported by The Gatsby Charitable Foundation and The Kovner Foundation

The Comedy of Errors is supported by RSC Season Supporter Charles Holloway

Royal Shakespeare Theatre productions are sponsored by Darwin Escapes

Darwin Escapes currently operates 24 holiday resorts and three golf courses across the UK offering holiday breaks, holiday home ownership and golf breaks.

Darwin Escapes offers a wide range of holiday accommodation at its holiday resorts, ranging from romantic boutique escapes to luxury lodge retreats and traditional family focused holiday parks. All locations boast state-of-the-art and diverse accommodation with some offering on-site facilities including spas, gyms, restaurants and activities.

The company strives to raise the standards of the UK holiday park industry and to ultimately provide the best possible holiday experience for holiday makers and holiday homeowners by creating brand new resorts in stunning UK locations with accommodation and facilities that rival those of 5-star hotels.

For further information about Darwin Escapes and its numerous golf and holiday destinations and facilities visit or follow them on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook: @DarwinEscapes

Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. 

The Royal Shakespeare Company creates world class theatre, made in Stratford-upon-Avon and shared around the world, performing plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, as well as commissioning an exceptionally wide range of original work from contemporary writers. Our purpose is to ensure that Shakespeare is for everyone, and we do that by unlocking the power of his plays and of live performance, throughout the UK and across the world. 

We believe everybody’s life is enriched by culture and creativity. We have trained generations of the very best theatre makers and we continue to nurture the talent of the future. Our transformative learning programmes reach over half a million young people and adults each year, and through our Placemaking and Public Programme we create projects with and for communities who have not historically engaged with our work. We are a leader in creative immersive technologies and digital development.  

We have a proud record of innovation, diversity and excellence on stage and are determined to grasp the opportunity to become an even more inclusive, progressive, relevant and ambitious organisation.  

We recognise the climate emergency and work hard to embed environmental sustainability into our operations, creative work and business practice, making a commitment to continually reduce our carbon footprint. 

The RSC is a registered charity No. 212481 

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