Royal Shakespeare Theatre - Bancroft Gardens, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK

In January 2013 when this image was taken, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre appears to be a modern building and, indeed, it has recently undergone a major restructuring.  However, I have included it here, in the 1930s, because that is when the building was originally constructed.

Above the Royal Shakespeare Theatre prior to 2007 - Below the RSC in 2013


Above the view taken prior to 2007 - Below 2013

Elizabeth Scott
Date Built
Opened on 23 April 1932
Adjacent to Bancroft Gardens beside the River Avon
The Royal Shakespeare theatre was designed by Elizabeth Scott,  the great-niece of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the architect of such industrial buildings as Battersey Power Station and Bankside Power Station, now the Tate Modern.  It is perhaps understandable that I once heard the RSC described as looking like a power station.  However, it is important to note that the RSC was the first public building in the UK to have been designed by a female architect.

When it was built the RSC sat beside the Avon between the Victorian Swan Theatre and Bancroft Gardens.  It was a proscenium Arch Theatre with many beautiful Art Deco features.  It accommodated 1,400 people in a tiered arrangement of stalls, circle and balcony seats.  It was a Grade II listed building when in 2007 it closed for the last time to undergo a four year reconstruction that saw the proscenium arch theatre demolished and rebuilt as a thrust stage.  A new restaurant was added on the roof and a viewing tower added on the " Waterside" end of the building.  Inside is a 1000 seat auditorium in which no one is more than 15 metres away from the stage.  The project, designed by the architectural practice of Bennetts Associates, cost £112 million.

Bennetts say of the project that, "The transformation of the Grade II* listed home of Shakespearean theatre was won through an international competition and opened in November 2010. At its heart, a new 1000-seat thrust-stage auditorium has revolutionised the way audiences experience live theatre. Its public spaces are accessible and welcoming, and its relationship with the town of Stratford-upon-Avon has been reinvigorated by the creation of the tower, new external spaces and routes."


Below are some views of the building during the reconstruction.

Above: before the roof came off - Below: after the roof was removed

Below: propping up the walls that were to be kept.

Below: The reconstruction underway.

Some of the original features have been retained.

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