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Bennetts raises the roof at the RSC - images

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The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has submitted for planning this new scheme by Bennetts Associates for the redevelopment of its home in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire.

The scheme is the latest bid by the RSC to restructure its work in the town following the collapse last year of Erick van Egeraat's plans for a new home for the company.

The Bennetts plan retains the facade of the original grade II*-listed Art Deco theatre, while entirely reworking the original interiors in a bid to create what it is hoped will be 'the best theatre for Shakespeare in the world'.

Designed with theatre consultant Charcoalblue, this proposal aims to be a modern take on the Shakespearean courtyard theatre, with a thrust-stage auditorium seating over 1,000 people.

A new roof will be created to straddle the main Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the smaller Swan Theatre, and will appear to hover above the pair.

A 35m-high tower, featuring an open-air platform, will command views of the surrounding countryside.

Bennetts and the RSC have run a programme of public consultation, with local groups coming out in support of the scheme.

One such group, the Stratford-upon-Avon Civic Society, said that it considered the process of drawing up the proposals a 'case study in the process of public consultation'.

'We've been involved all the way and are very pleased with the plans, we will almost certainly support them,' a spokesman for the society said.

Work on the transformation is scheduled for completion in 2010.

by Ed Dorrell

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