“You might wonder,” said our guide. “Why the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) would spend £112 million on a completely new interior for its world-famous theatre, only to leave in place these scruffy wooden boards…
Looking at me, he continued: “Do you realise, Sir, you are treading the same boards that creaked beneath the stage shoes of Lawrence Olivier, Richard Burton David Tenant and Dame Judi Dench…”
We all looked to our feet, standing on the hallowed wood, feeling amused but unworthy…
We were enjoying a long weekend near Stratford-on-Avon; soaking up the delights of Warwickshire in late July. The theatre is always a treat, but the RSC creates experiences you never forget.
This to be followed by an afternoon performance of Richard III – all three hours of it. A cracker of a day, and the weather was beautiful, so an ice cream by the river was on the cards…
Part of the agenda of this visit to the RSC was a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the restored Art Deco building and its support services, such as costuming. Another was a glimpse of the new Swan Theatre exhibition: a permanent treasure trove of acting memorabilia.
These will be visited in a short series of posts to come. But first, it wasn’t only the stage boards that were up-scaled to serve the new building; the entire Art Deco fittings of the previous interior were carefully worked into the design. The classic bar room doors were cleaned and polished to their original glory.
At the far end of the entry gallery is the cafe, and beyond that one of the original ‘fountain and spiral staircases’ so popular in the 1930s.
©Stephen Tanham 2022
Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being.