The Royal Shakespeare Company and its accompanying theatre is arguably the most popular tourist attraction in Stratford-upon-Avon. The iconic theatre is situated on Waterside along the banks of the River Avon.
The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has grown into a world-renowned venue and institution of performing arts. The theatre principally performs Shakespeare pieces, however the works of his contemporaries and new shows are also presented. The main theatre seats a total of 1,040 people.
Many of today’s household names began their careers at the RSC. Dame Judi Dench joined the RSC in 1961 and went on to make her debut in 1962 as Isabella in Measure for Measure. Sir Ian McKellen frequently walked the stage of the RSC, most notably playing the titular role in Macbeth alongside Dame Judi. Helen Mirren has played a variety of characters including Lady Anne in Richard III and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth. Other notable actors to grace the stage include Vanessa Redgrave and David Tennant.
The RSC is committed to continuing this proud tradition of fine-tuning some of the world’s greatest actors. 25,000 young people and 2,000 teachers per year are offered education partnerships with the RSC both domestically and internationally.
Throughout its existence the RSC has been highly revered and this enormous popularity resulted in the recent £112.8 million RSC and Swan Theatre re-development. The building was re-opened in November 2010. As a Grade II listed building, it was vital that it held on to its art deco features that the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre was notorious for.
One of the most popular and exciting features of the re-development includes the Tower. A lift takes you 32 metres up to the viewing platform, which has been designed to provide exceptional views of the town. As you make your way out down the stairs you will be able to view an exhibition installed within the walls.
The Tower opens at 10am every day. Tickets prices are just £2.50 for adults, £1.25 for those 18 and under, and £1 for people with disabilities or RSC members. A visit to the RSC Tower is a fun way to take in the sights of Stratford-upon-Avon and is suitable for all of the family. Guided tours of the Theatre are also available.
As a mark of the renovation’s success, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre was awarded with the prestigious Tata Steel Ltd Structural Steel Design Award 2012.
The company produces approximately 20 plays in its Stratford branch each year with around one thousand individual performances. The majority of these take place in the summer months. There are both matinee and evening performances, meaning every visitor to Stratford-upon-Avon will have the opportunity to witness a performance first-hand.
Pre-performance dinner packages in the Rooftop Restaurant are also available. A stunning creation set on the third floor, it offers panoramic views of the town along with fine dining, evening cocktails and live music performances.
Tickets to a performance at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre start at just £5 for restricted view seats, with the best available seating costing £48 for adults. Disabled access is provided, however those with special requirements must contact the theatre in advance using the disability access booking form.