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RSC re-opens with a fanfare of media coverage

  • Date: 14 December 2010
  • Area: Midlands
Royal Shakespeare Theatre auditorium with audience

Royal Shakespeare Theatre auditorium with audience. Credit: Peter Cook

The Royal Shakespeare Company re-opened the Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres last month with a fanfare of media coverage after a four year, £112.8 million redevelopment.  And in the first week 20,000 visitors passed through the doors.

Arts Council England contributed £53 million towards the development.  Ros Robins, West Midlands director Arts Council England, comments:  "We are thrilled that this development has been finished on time and has received such acclaim from worldwide media and the public.

"The RSC attracts audiences from all over the UK and world and makes a significant contribution to the local and UK economy.

"Following this project and the re-opening of the theatres it is envisaged that the RSC will contribute around £61 million a year to the regional economy.

"During these challenging times for the arts it is good to see such a success story in the West Midlands, and we hope their audiences will continue to grow and attract thousands of visitors."

The new building has a brand new 1,000 seat thrust stage auditorium, 36 metre high tower, new exhibition spaces, new places to eat and drink, including the Rooftop Restaurant and Riverside Café and terrace, restored 1930s features and improved public areas.

Visitors can take part in a series of preview events and activities which will help test the spaces, while throughout the opening period Matilda A Musical, plays at The Courtyard Theatre.

Over four months visitors can enjoy the building from 9am to 7pm most days.  The new Rooftop Restaurant will also be open during the evening.

In February 2011, the current RSC ensemble will perform the first productions on the new Royal Shakespeare Theatre stage when they return from London's Roundhouse to revive King Lear and Romeo and Juliet, directed by RSC Associate Directors, David Farr and Rupert Goold. 

The company will also perform Artistic Director Michael Boyd's production of Antony and Cleopatra in the Swan Theatre and both Young People's Shakespeare productions of Hamlet and The Comedy of Errors, before going back to London to premiere three new plays at Hampstead Theatre which run from April to June 2011.

The RSC will celebrate its 50th birthday and formally reopen the theatres with new companies and a new season from April 2011.

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