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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 April 2007, 07:57 GMT 08:57 UK
Last play at Shakespeare theatre
A picture of the new theatre
The theatre should be completed by 2010
The Royal Shakespeare Theatre has held its last performance this weekend before closing for a multi-million pound refurbishment.

The 100m transformation of the world famous listed building, which opened in 1932, should be completed by 2010.

Plans include a "thrust" stage for the main theatre, a 108ft (33m) tower at the entrance and a riverside walkway.

During the work, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) will operate at the nearby 1,000-seat Courtyard Theatre.

The last play before the refurbishment, the tragedy Coriolanus, was performed on Saturday.

Royal Shakespeare Theatre (RST): Closes in 2007 as a 1,443-seat venue, reopens in 2010 with 1,000 seats
Swan Theatre: Closes for 2008 and 2009, then reopens unchanged
Courtyard Theatre: Opens in summer 2006 and closes when the new RST opens
The Other Place (TOP): will act as a foyer for the Courtyard Theatre and reopen as a small studio when all works are complete

The adjoining Swan Theatre is also being revamped as part of the plans.

In 2004, the RSC dropped controversial plans to demolish the Grade II listed building and replace it with a "theatre village".

When the current plans were announced last June, project architects Bennetts Associates said its designs would "restore the key Art Deco elements of the Grade II listed theatre while creating a more welcoming, combined entrance".

The new U-shaped stage, designed with theatre consultants Charcoalblue, is intended to "transform the relationship between artists and audiences".

Performers will be surrounded by the audience on three sides. The same design already exists at the Swan Theatre

RSC artistic director Michael Boyd said they wanted to move away from the 19th Century proscenium 'picture frame' style of theatre.

The Arts Council England and regional development agency Advantage West Midlands have pledged up to 70m.

RSC's temporary theatre to open
08 Aug 06 |  Coventry/Warwickshire
RSC stage damaged in arson attack
19 Jul 06 |  Coventry/Warwickshire
RSC unveils 'transformation' plan
14 Jun 06 |  Entertainment
Bard town needs landmark theatre
31 Jan 06 |  Coventry/Warwickshire
Swan Theatre closes for two years
18 Jan 06 |  Coventry/Warwickshire
RSC theatre revamp gets 20m fund
05 Jan 06 |  Entertainment
RSC drops plan to scrap theatre
22 Jul 04 |  Entertainment

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