Have Stage, Will Travel: Royal Shakespeare Company in New York

July 26, 2011 at 6:41 pm

When some shows go on tour, they pack costumes and props. The Royal Shakespeare Company shlepped a whole stage. For a six-week residency at the Park Avenue Armory, the world’s most famous Shakespeare troupe is performing on a full-scale replica of their theater in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England. SundayArts followed the story as the stage took shape in the Armory’s 55,000-square-foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall.

The set was built in Stratford-Upon-Avon, then shipped in pieces to New York, where it was re-assembled. Rebecca Robertson, president and executive director of the Park Avenue Armory, told SundayArts that the Drill Hall is a unique space in the New York cultural scene because “you can transform it and create a world that the audience enters into like you can’t do anywhere else.”

The Royal Shakespeare Company is an ensemble, and the actors trade roles in the Shakespearian repertoire. The company is performing “Julius Caesar,” “As You Like It,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “King Lear” and “The Winter’s Tale” throughout the summer.

In an interview with SundayArts, Artistic Director Michael Boyd emphasized the importance of the community space. He says that what is most important is that audiences “go away having loved it,” but admits that it would be a bonus if the performances inspired other theater companies to create spaces where “the audience are in congregation with the performers.”


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“Sunday Arts” covers the Royal Shakespeare Company performances in New York. The production has been in planning for three years. Video courtesy of “Sunday Arts.”

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