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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: April ::
Royal Shakespeare Theatre Closing for Refurbishment
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The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0263  Monday, 2 April 2007

[1] 	From: 	Cary Dean Barney <
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	Date: 	Friday, 30 Mar 2007 17:24:36 +0200
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0222 Royal Shakespeare Theatre Closing for Refurbishment

[2] 	From: 	David Frankel <
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	Date: 	Friday, 30 Mar 2007 12:22:19 -0400
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 18.0222 Royal Shakespeare Theatre Closing for Refurbishment

[3] 	From: 	Brian Willis <
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 >
	Date: 	Friday, 30 Mar 2007 10:10:07 -0700 (PDT)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0222 Royal Shakespeare Theatre Closing for Refurbishment

[4] 	From: 	David Lindley <
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	Date: 	Monday, 2 Apr 2007 11:25:51 +0100
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 18.0222 Royal Shakespeare Theatre Closing for Refurbishment


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Cary Dean Barney <
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Date: 		Friday, 30 Mar 2007 17:24:36 +0200
Subject: 18.0222 Royal Shakespeare Theatre Closing for 
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0222 Royal Shakespeare Theatre Closing for 
Refurbishment

Just to add, anyone who happens to be there Saturday should catch 
William Houston's riveting Coriolanus.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		David Frankel <
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 >
Date: 		Friday, 30 Mar 2007 12:22:19 -0400
Subject: 18.0222 Royal Shakespeare Theatre Closing for 
Comment: 	RE: SHK 18.0222 Royal Shakespeare Theatre Closing for 
Refurbishment

I was lucky enough to see the first performance in The Courtyard last 
summer as part of the Shakespeare:  Text and Performance workshop.  As I 
understand it, the Other Place has been architecturally incorporated 
into The Courtyard-it is, in essence, the lobby (foyer).  I believe that 
when The Courtyard is taken down, The Other Place will be restored as, 
well, the RSC's other place.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Brian Willis <
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 >
Date: 		Friday, 30 Mar 2007 10:10:07 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 18.0222 Royal Shakespeare Theatre Closing for 
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0222 Royal Shakespeare Theatre Closing for 
Refurbishment

 >"I am not sure I understand what is meant by
 >'The Other Place (TOP): will act as a foyer for the Courtyard Theatre
 >and reopen as a small studio when all works are complete,' and would
 >welcome clarification."

The Other Place is actually now the foyer of the Courtyard - the room 
that was that theatrical space became the meeting space, bar, ticket 
office, stairwell and store of the new theatre. The Courtyard theatrical 
room is actually a new construct built adjacent to The Other Place on 
the parking lot that serviced it and RSC patrons. So, if the RSC follows 
their plans once renovations are complete on the RST, they will simply 
tear down the Courtyard, gut the "foyer", ie the walls that were once a 
wide open theatrical space, install the seats, floor and lighting and 
resume productions there. Fairly easily done actually.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		David Lindley <
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 >
Date: 		Monday, 2 Apr 2007 11:25:51 +0100
Subject: 18.0222 Royal Shakespeare Theatre Closing for 
Comment: 	RE: SHK 18.0222 Royal Shakespeare Theatre Closing for 
Refurbishment

I attended a performance of Coriolanus in the last week at the RST - and 
thus completed a loop back to the first season I went to that theatre, 
and saw Olivier's Coriolanus in 1959.  While I am not sorry to see the 
space go, despite the many personal memories that attach to it , I am a 
little worried by the fact that what we seem to be promised is, in 
effect, a larger version of The Swan (relegating that space, presumably, 
to the status of a Cygnet).  Having, like Hardy, been at the Courtyard, 
I am, unlike him, less than entirely bowled over by it. I sat for one 
production right round the side of the thrust stage, and, despite every 
effort in the blocking, found it a frustrating viewpoint from which to 
watch the Henry VI plays.  In the smaller Swan this doesn't seem to 
matter so much, or is perhaps easier for the actors to mange, but in the 
larger space it does, in my view, lead to a distinctly inferior quality 
of experience.  One may be very much closer to the action than in the 
remoter parts of the old RST's gallery, but closeness and involvement 
are not necessarily the same thing. I'm not a theatre historian, but I 
do wonder whether the De Witt drawing hasn't been responsible, in part, 
for creating a notion of the 'thrust' stage which is not necessarily the 
only one.  The excavations of The Rose seem to suggest a stage which 
projects into the audience, but does not have anything like the depth of 
audience round the side. I do hope that the new stage will be genuinely 
flexible, so that it can be experimented with - otherwise I fear we may 
have as many rebuilds as the RST itself has endured in the last twenty 
or thirty years.

David Lindley


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