Ian Ritchie Architects

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The Courtyard Theatre – the RSC’s temporary Stratford home

The RSC today named the temporary theatre that will be home to the RSC’s main ensemble during the transformation of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

The announcement follows a meeting on 10 March with the Stratford-on-Avon District Council Central Area Planning Committee who granted planning permission for the temporary theatre.

Work is due to start on the 1,000 seat courtyard theatre later this year. It will be completed in time for the RSC’s Complete Works of Shakespeare Festival in 2006 and take over as the Company’s main theatre in Stratford from 2007.

The Courtyard Theatre will be built as an extension to The Other Place – currently the RSC’s 150-seat studio theatre in Stratford. The new building will incorporate a new 1,000 seat auditorium, while the existing Other Place auditorium will house its foyer space, cloakroom, bar areas, dressing room and rehearsal space.

The new building has been designed by Ian Ritchie Architects, whose most recent projects include The Spire in Dublin and the new production centre at the Plymouth Theatre Royal. The Courtyard theatre’s walls will be built in ‘Corten A’ steel sheets creating a sound-proof auditorium to meet the RSC’s high acoustic requirements. This recyclable material was chosen so that its red colour blends with the surrounding buildings. The thrust-stage auditorium design is based on an original concept by the RSC.

Michael Boyd, Artistic Director said:

“The Courtyard Theatre will be an exciting theatrical space and a prototype for the stage in the new Royal Shakespeare Theatre. The name reflects our ambition to create an auditorium that mirrors the intimacy of the courtyard theatres Shakespeare wrote for.”

“We’ve always been committed to continuing to perform in Stratford while we transform the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. It’s important for the RSC and also for the economic health of the region. Although temporary, The Courtyard Theatre will have all the facilities audiences and artists expect from the RSC.”

“Once the Royal Shakespeare Theatre is complete in 2009 The Courtyard Theatre will close and The Other Place will return to its current role as the RSC’s studio theatre for new and experimental work.”

For further details contact:

Jane Ellis, Communications Manager
01789-412668 or 07966-295032

Roger Mortlock, Director of Communications
01789-412667 or 07980-758903

Information on The Courtyard Theatre design:

An artist’s impression of the auditorium of The Courtyard Theatre and a visualization of the exterior are available from the Electronic Press Office at www.epo-online.com