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Artsin Arts at in Royal Shakespeare Theatre

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Cutaway of Stratford's reconstructed Royal Shakespeare Theatre with new tower and Swan Theatre behind. Photo courtesy of RSC, © HayesDavidson
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Few places have as famous a son as Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare (aka "the Bard"). Together with museums dedicated at his birthplace and his wife's house, this delightful Cotswold town is home to the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Without doubt one of the world's greatest ensembles, the RSC is 50 in 2011 and starts its celebrations after a significant period of change. Its main home, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, has undergone a multi-million-pound redevelopment to replace its old proscenium arch theatre with a thrust stage, very much like Shakespeare may have recognised. Its smaller, sister venue, the Swan Theatre opened in 1986 in just such a format and, while the building work has been taking place, the company has performed in the Courtyard Theatre, a larger version of the Swan, which has informed the final designs of the new space.

Founded in 1960 by Peter Hall, the Royal Shakespeare Company has built on an impressive history of performances in Shakespeare's birthplace since late Victorian times. Under Michael Boyd, the current artistic director, the benefits of ensemble companies working for two years together have been re-established and seen such highlights as Boyd's Histories and, at the end of the current ensemble, five Shakespeare plays touring to New York's Lincoln Center Festival this summer.

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Whatsonwhen Ltd, John Wiley & Sons, Inc

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