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Archive for the ‘Transformation’ Category

On Tuesday 30th November, my mum and I joined a group of 700 RSC supporters and patrons for a special preview event at the new Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Everything about the Theatre invites you in, asks you to explore, welcomes you.  We were happy to wander through the building enjoying the ambience and the decor.  We loved the shop, the bars, the Fountain Courtyard with its beautiful spiral staircase and we had a great time looking at the art installations, pictures and memories from the RST archives.

The Reading Room next to the Swan Bar housed a poet’s work-in-progress.  Visitors were asked to add their memories of the RST to post-it notes and sheets of paper and it was lovely to read so many memories from many, many years ago.  In the corner of the Reading Room is the ‘Insult Chair’, a brilliant invention that shouts out a Shakespearian insult when you sit in it – we got: ‘your bum is the most part of you!’, not much you can say to that…

Upstairs in the Swan Room, an exhibition called ‘Transformations’ brought us the story of the building project through words, pictures, miniature models of the theatre, seat design and even upholstery choices.  It’s clear, when you look around this exhibition, just how much research and hard work went into turning a dream into reality, an incredible achievement.

Old production photographs have been enlarged to hang on walls and an installation called ‘Ghosts in the Walls’ projected a wonderful selection of black and white images from the RST archives onto the walls in the main theatre building, brought to life with quotes from the plays.

‘My RSC Gallery’ is a fascinating installation created by the public, schools, RSC staff and actors.  All around the theatre are 50 small boxes built into the walls.  Lift the lid and a miniature picture, image or collage is underneath.  Of the ones I found, my favourite: ‘Gleanings from the front row of the stalls’ by Valerie Thompson was a fascinating collection of false nails, feathers, documents, buttons and other small objects that had ended up in the stalls.  The narrative told us from which play and year each piece had been collected.

The focus of the evening was a specially produced ‘Masque for the New Theatre’. Traditionally put on in court in Shakespeare’s time, a masque was a way of celebrating a new theatre opening.  Director Gregory Doran had developed a brilliant and very funny one-off performance featuring Richard McCabe, Antony Sher, Simon Trinder, Rebecca Johnson, Alexandra Gilbreath and Claire Benedict that showcased the incredible, new main theatre stage.  We experienced thunder, lightening, fire, snow and rain and discovered the beauty of the thrust stage and seating that allows you to see from anywhere in the theatre.

Sitting in the audience on Tuesday evening, all the passion, enthusiasm and sheer hard work that went into bringing this project to fruition was clear to see.  The building is a triumph, the theatre superb.  Everything has been carefully and cleverly conceived – it’s no longer just a theatre, it’s Shakespeare’s home and legacy.  If he only knew, I’m sure he would be delighted and oh so proud!

Jane Nead

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The fundraising campaign to Transform our Theatres steps up in its final year. There is £5.5m left to raise to reach the RSC’s Campaign goal of £112.8m

Having received three significant gifts totaling £3.6m as well as further funds through our ongoing successful Public Appeal, the RSC has raised a total of £107.3m.

With one year to go before the Campaign will close,  the fundraising and appeal must push on to help raise the final £5.5m. With the help of some RSC Alumni the RSC Development Team have created a trailer We’re Coming Home to highlight the urgency and invite people to play their part in reaching our final goal.

If you would like to make a donation towards the Appeal please visit the RSC website

Find out more about the Transformation at www.rsc.org.uk/transformation

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