The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Click to see full size. Photo © RSC
Scott's original theatre Photo © RSC
Photo © Peter Cook, courtesy Bennetts Associates Architects
Photo © Peter Cook, courtesy Bennetts Associates Architects

100 Buildings 100 Years

2010: Stratford Memorial Theatre, Warwickshire

Status: Listed Grade II*
Type: Entertainment
Architect: Elizabeth Scott, refurbished by Bennetts Associates Architects
Location: Waterside, Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 6BB

Elizabeth Scott’s 1932 Royal Shakespeare Theatre is significant as an exemplar of modernism and as the first notable building to be designed by a female architect. Praised by some for the close attention to detail that was unusual in a monumental modern structure, it use of high-quality natural materials and the simple elegance of the decorative characteristics of the building, the theatre was derided by others for its industrial idiom and lack of reference to the heritage of the locality.

The 2010 redevelopment by Bennetts Associates brought the theatre up-to-date with today’s preferences by working pragmatically within the historic fabric of the building. A complete demolition of the original auditorium space has made way for the construction of a thrust stage which provides a more intimate theatre experience, while elsewhere the most successful elements of Scott’s original design have been carefully restored. As it stands today, the building is well loved and its many historical layers work in harmony with each other within the riverside context.

by Teresa Pinto

Listing description

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