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All the World’s a (New) Stage

July 22, 2011

Last week I took a trip down to Stratford-Upon-Avon.

William Shakespeare Gower memorial Stratford-upon-Avon

Stratford is one of my favourite places in the world.  I’ve spent so many enjoyable hours there watching great theatre stretching back over twenty-three years to the first production I saw, a 1988 A-level english school trip to see  “Macbeth” directed by Adrian Noble.  Those early visits to the old RST and the adjoining Swan Theatre were among the influences that inspired me to study drama at college and university thereby leading me to the career I’m now pursuing.  Visits to Stratford continue to inspire me.  It sounds a little pretentious, but it’s as if they help to recharge my creative batteries.

Lady Macbeth

The reason for this latest visit was, by a strange coincidence, to see the Royal Shakespeare Company’s new production of “Macbeth” in the recently re-opened RST (Royal Shakespeare Theatre) .  I was very excited about seeing the theatre’s new auditorium.  The curtain fell on the old stage on March 31st 2007 and performances transferred to the temporary Courtyard Theatre while work took place to transform the old theatre’s interior:

The RSC's Courtyard Theatre

The Courtyard had a fantastic auditorium – much better than many permanent theatres I’ve sat in and I’m delighted that the new auditorium at the RST is an almost exact copy of the Courtyard.  It’s a thrust stage with seating arranged in a horseshoe on three levels.  Visibility is excellent with no seat being more than fifteen meters from the stage.  Photography isn’t allowed inside the auditorium so I can’t show you what it looks like, but I took a few shots of the new foyer areas:

Foyer of the new RST

Between the walls of the old and new RST auditoriums

Old production posters on display at the new RST

They’ve retained the original frontage and added a new rooftop restaurant and a 36-meter high tower that gives views across Stratford and the surrounding Warwickshire countryside.

Exterior of the RST

Royal Shakespeare Theatre showing the new observation tower

The weather was grey and misty so I didn’t go up the tower on this occasion, but I know that there are plenty of visits to Stratford Upon Avon to come and I look forward to getting up there on my next trip.

Congratulations to the RSC on an excellent job transforming their theatre into a venue I can’t wait to return to and where I’m sure I’ll be inspired again and again in the years to come.

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