Shakespeare Shake-up

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre has been given a revamp, and look how pretty it is. I imagine it is a remarkable moment when an actor/actress is presented with this view. (Click on the image to view the whole gallery – it’s rather impressive.)

When the renovation of the Royal Shakespeare theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon was first announced, someone asked why the number of seats was to fall by 400. Surely this was against the notion of “accessibility” or “art for all”? Michael Boyd, artistic director of the RSC, boomed: “This isn’t football – you’re meant to be able to hear what the actors are saying.”

Not a bad way to spend £112million. I remember being in awe of the Royal Opera House when I watched Don Giovanni (featuring Anna Netrebko) a couple of years ago, but where that was a contemporary building, the Royal Shakespeare theatre seems to be all about the heritage.

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About Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.


  1. I used to frequent the RST a lot in my teens. Knowing what it used to look like, what they’ve done to it looks absolutely stunning. Love the refitted art deco spiral staircase.

  2. It must be pretty damn awesome to be able to see anything in that theater.

    I saw Madame Butterfly at the San Francisco Opera House a few years ago. I’d love to go to the opera again, but there’s no opera scene where I live. It sucks.

    Have you seen Lucia di Lammermoor? I’ve always wanted to see that one live, but it’s not performed very often, and rarely by someone with the ability to handle the female lead (it has one of the most difficult solos ever written, or so I’m told).

  3. Rachel – you young hoodlums, hanging out with all that culture and literature.

    SMD – I’ve not seen Lucia di Lammermoor, no. I’ve not even heard the music to be honest. I’m still waiting for a good Tristan und Isolde to come along to the ROH…

  4. Tristan und Isolde is pretty good.

    You should definitely listen to Lucia if you haven’t already. It’s really difficult to find good renditions of the mad scene online, but the one by Annick Massis is acceptable enough to listen to for the general idea:
    Part One: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9sB8sRKTAY&feature=related
    Part Two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4L0mzGDRoZY
    Part Three: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acq73D5HVU8&feature=related

  5. Oh, and in the interest of being annoying: if you’ve seen The Fifth Element, then you’ll recognize Lucia di Lammermoor from that. The blue alien that sings towards the end. She begins by singing from the mad scene. Granted, it’s not the greatest rendition, but what do you expect from a blue alien?

  6. Thanks for the links, SMD – I’ll give those a listen when I get the chance. Sounds like you’re quite the aficionado!

  7. Aww you officially made my day, it seems like so many critics have been hating it. I live not far from Stratford and went for a tour of the new place when it reopened and even some of the people on the tour were quite combatitive about the materials used. I think it’s lovely and quite similar to the wonderful Courtyard theatre where I’ve been seeing performances while the main one has been finished(little bit freaked about how close we’ll be to the stage for R&J though as we’ve tickets for the front row).

  8. Hi Jodie. I guess with a piece of art, you’re probably going to get so many opinions; perhaps the better the piece, the more discussion it promotes? Hope you enjoy the performance when you go!