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Bennetts wins planning for Royal Shakespeare Theatre overhaul

Bennetts Associates' £53 million planning application for the renovation of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (RST) in Stratford-upon-Avon has been approved.

The Bennetts plan retains the facade of the original Grade II*-listed Art Deco theatre - completed by Elizabeth Scott in 1932 - while entirely reworking the original interiors.

News of the approval of the scheme will be welcomed by the RSC, which appointed Bennetts after last year's proposal by Erick van Egeraat collapsed (Bennetts takes over where Egeraat left off in Stratford).

The Bennetts scheme includes a new 1,000-seat 'thrust-format auditorium' - designed in conjunction with specialist Charcoalblue - a foyer linking the RST with its sister Swan Theatre and a 36m-high tower which will provide access to the upper levels as well as creating a spectacular viewing point over the town and the Avon valley.

An RSC spokeswoman said work would begin in August with completion scheduled for 2010.

by Max Thompson

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