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Rsc 2013 Season


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#111 Lynette

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 09:20 PM

Don't start me off on the cafe space. Ok I will start. Here is a space, maybe one of the most desirable in Europe if not the world, next to a river, with nice views, more tourists than you can desire in your wildest dreams, guaranteed punters who are stuck there pre theatre ( and ) post and what do you put there? A pokey cafe with very limited food and hardly enough seating for an OAPs' outing on a wet Wednesday. What a missed opportunity. They could triple the cafe, serve fab food ( there are loads of Midland caterers with great grub) and have entertainment and theatre related decor and events. OMG what they could do. I predict that just as every other venue has done in living memory, they will be altering the space for ever trying to make more money which, if they had thought about it, they could have printed.

#112 Epicoene

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 07:50 AM

View PostLynette, on 11 March 2013 - 09:20 PM, said:

OMG what they could do. I predict that just as every other venue has done in living memory, they will be altering the space for ever trying to make more money

You are right, it is because there are advantages for them all to invest in capital projects in an attempt to increase revenue rather than spending the money on actual production costs which might also attract more people. It is a really a flaw in the way lottery funding was set up in the first place. It results in places like the Almedia being closed for months on end while they revamp the cafe and foyer and when they open again the auditorium is exactly the same. The Lyric Hammersmith did the same, the Young Vic too I seem to remember.

#113 igb

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 09:07 AM

View PostDavid J, on 11 March 2013 - 06:56 PM, said:

I am sure its nice to see the original walls ... Also if you are not familiar with the layout, its like going through a maze in order to find the right door to auditorium when going to your seat.

I think the basic issue is that for a lot of reasons, some of them internal to the project (the aesthetic intent of the designers) and some of them external (the need to keep structural walls that hold the roof up, the English Heritage position on the frontage, foyer and fountain staircase) the box of the original auditorium couldn't just be ripped out.  The impression given in the general press was that they simply had to keep the frontage, but in fact they had a lot less flexibility than that.  Hence, for example, the retention of the original proscenium arch, which is holding up building.

There are criticisms that can be made which don't relate to this, and I suspect that as time passes some of them will be fixed.  I agree with Lynette that the ground floor cafe is a disgrace, and is the obvious place where the new scheme is worse than the old theatre.  That's more an issue of what's in the space than the space itself, though.  The walk linking the RST and the Swan is bleak in the extreme, and there must be a better way to balance that with the need to keep the stage access doors accessible --- that they're having to put free-standing heaters in there is pretty shabby.   But the area around the stalls bar is very cramped, and that's just not fixable: both the front and back walls of that space were in the list of things English Heritage wouldn't move on, and the obvious move --- to extend the foyer all the way to the back of the auditorium --- simply wasn't possible.

#114 Poly

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 09:39 AM

I miss the Courtyard. That's all.

#115 igb

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 09:53 AM

Here's what was said about the columns at the time (from Chapter 13 of the RSC "Transformations" book, any typos down to the nasty OCR toolchain I used):

Quote


Then there was the crucial question of how the galleries should be held up: self-supporting (as in the old RST) or with columns (as in The Courtyard)? To have had cantilevered, free-spanning balconies would have been a little bit too shiny modern and lacking in character,' said Bennetts. 'We felt very strongly that in architectural terms columns bring the space in and give that sense of compression Michael wanted. You couldn't have them right on the front row because they would get in the way. But the next row back was possible.

We were told that we could not put columns in a new theatre because they were bound to create sightline problems. But we came to the conclusion that we could minimise the problem by making sure the columns were as small as possible and in the right places. The benefits of columns outweighed disadvantages.'

The Courtyard's columns were circular; those in the RST are cruciform in section and their apparent volume changes depending on the angle from which they are seen. They remain raw and unpainted, their steeliness unconcealed. Equally plain oak boards fixed to the concrete back wall that embraces the auditorium should solve the acoustic blips experienced in The Courtyard.


#116 Alexandra

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 11:16 AM

I know it's not a substitute for a good cafe when all you want is a cup of coffee and a sandwich, but the Rooftop restaurant has the same view and very good food, and isn't expensive. We had a great dinner there in December after watching a gorgeous sunset over the rooftops first.

#117 Epicoene

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 11:41 AM

"We felt very strongly that in architectural terms columns bring the space in and give that sense of compression Michael wanted".

ie. when seen from the stage. Designing a new theatre with restricted view seats is just bad design.

#118 igb

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 12:10 PM

View PostEpicoene, on 12 March 2013 - 11:41 AM, said:


ie. when seen from the stage. Designing a new theatre with restricted view seats is just bad design.

I'm not sure it's fair to say it only matters from the stage.   There are a _lot_ of seats in the RST where the backdrop to the acting is more seats (on of the objections to thrust stages, of course).  But you're absolutely right to say that restricted view seats in a new theatre is bad design...although, of course, once you have a very close in theatre where all the seats are "good", there are some marketing reasons to create a few cheap seats that don't make people who paid more feel hard done by...

#119 Epicoene

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 12:28 PM

View Postigb, on 12 March 2013 - 12:10 PM, said:

I'm not sure it's fair to say it only matters from the stage.   There are a _lot_ of seats in the RST where the backdrop to the acting is more seats (on of the objections to thrust stages, of course).  But you're absolutely right to say that restricted view seats in a new theatre is bad design...although, of course, once you have a very close in theatre where all the seats are "good", there are some marketing reasons to create a few cheap seats that don't make people who paid more feel hard done by...

I would have thought having only a view of audience members would give a greater "sense of compression" than pillars. And as the Donmar has shown they could price the best seats in the house at £10 if they wanted to even if they didn't have a pillar in front of them.

There is an account by someone in a distant upper circle in a giant old theatre watching Max Miller at the height of his powers - he said that when Miller came on stage such was the force of his personality and the love the audience had for him that it was as if "the entire theatre wrapped itself closely around him" making him seem much close than he was. This is true, the real distancing effect is not pillars or distance from the stage but the power of what is being performed on it.

Here endeth the lesson.

#120 peggs

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 01:10 PM

I will await pillars and see then, will try and remember that if i can't see i must appreciate the sense of compression instead. and perhaps take a packed lunch.




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