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Bennetts takes over where Egeraat left off in Stratford

Bennetts Associates has been appointed to design the £100 million transformation of the Royal Shakespeare Company's (RSC) Stratford home.

It was announced this week that the practice will remodel the 1932 Grade II*-listed Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

The new theatre will be a 'modern take' on the courtyard theatres of Shakespeare's day, with a thrust stage auditorium seating around 1,000 people.

The design - which will replace Eric Van Egeraat's failed proposal - will reduce the distance between the actors and the furthest seat from 27m to around 15m.

RSC artistic director Michael Boyd said: 'I believe we've found in Bennetts Associates the right people to join us in creating a more intimate space that our house playwright would recognise as a theatre.'

In addition to replacing the existing auditorium, the plan includes improving front-of-house facilities, with enhanced provision for disabled access, bars, restaurants, toilets and exhibition space.

Rab Bennetts said: 'We're absolutely delighted to be selected for such a prestigious and challenging project. The prospect of working in Stratford-upon-Avon to revitalise its most important building is very exciting, and we look forward not only to immersing ourselves in the RSC and its ideas for the performance of Shakespeare, but also in the issues that affect the town.'

Today's announcement (18 March) follows news last week that the RSC has been granted planning permission for its temporary Stratford home, designed by Ian Ritchie.

by Rob Sharp

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