Coventry & Warwickshire

Royal Shakespeare Company theatres reopen to 120 pupils

Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) staff are reopening the doors to their new theatres in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Schoolchildren have had a preview of the rebuilt Royal Shakespeare and Swan theatres before the general public is allowed in on Wednesday.

The RSC has spent four years and £112m redeveloping the venues.

Visitors will be invited to watch previews but full performances will not start until February. The first plays will be King Lear and Romeo and Juliet.

50th anniversary

Up to 120 children from Stratford have been having the first look at the new building.

From Wednesday, people can go inside and see the 1,000-seat auditorium in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and go up its 36m (118ft) tower.

There are also exhibition spaces, a new restaurant, a riverside cafe and terrace and public areas.

An audio-enhanced insult chair, where visitors can be insulted in Shakespearian language, is among the attractions.

The theatres will be formally reopened in April 2011 coinciding with the company's 50th birthday season.

Old stage boards, once trodden by stars such as Sir Laurence Olivier, have been relaid in a space between the auditorium and foyer in the new theatre.

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