Stage Technologies recently supplied the UK’s Royal Shakespeare Company's Courtyard Theatre with a portable automation control system. The new 1,000-seat theatre is a temporary venue for the RSC while a major renovation transforms their permanent home at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. The temporary venue has been designed as a prototype for the auditorium planned at the permanent theatre, which will re-open in 2010. The new thrust stage brings the audience closer to the actors and recreates the intimacy of Shakespearean theatres.
The entire Courtyard Theatre project has an estimated cost of approximately £6m and it is envisaged that a large amount of the equipment and materials will subsequently be reused in other RSC theatres to support its works in London and on tours in the UK and internationally. This includes the theatre's automation control system, for which Stage Technologies provided a 34-axis, portable, modular system that allows equipment to be configured as one or two systems of varying sizes, giving the RSC greater flexibility. The system also includes 34 BigTow winches, flightcased MaxisID control, and four Illusionist control consoles.
At the Courtyard Theatre the system will be used to automate part of the RSC's ambitious year of 'The Complete Works' in which they intend to perform every one of Shakespeare's works. Stage Technologies have recently supplied the first installment of the new automation systems into the Novello Theatre in London. Alan Bartlett, Head of Construction and Technical Design for the RSC, commented, "The first installation of our new portable automation system at the Novello was also the most painless and problem free deployment of winches and automation that the RSC has ever undertaken."