The Courtyard Theatre is a temporary 1,048 seat thrust stage theatre building in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. Designed by Ian Ritchie Architects and built in 11 months, it opened in August 2006 to host performances by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) while its Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres were closed for redevelopment between 2007 and 2010 as part of a £112.8 million transformation project.
Built on the site of the RSC’s studio theatre, the Other Place (TOP), the Courtyard Theatre was created as a full-sized working prototype for the design of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre’s new 1040+ seat auditorium and provided an opportunity to gain experience relating to sightlines, acoustics, lighting and comfort of seats. The Courtyard Theatre’s awards include the National and Regional RIBA Award for Architecture 2007 and the Stratford-on-Avon Council Celebration of Excellence 2007 Design Award.
The Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres reopened on 24 November 2010, with the first full Shakespeare performances beginning in February 2011, with the last performance in the Courtyard Theatre, Matilda, A Musical, taking place in January 2010. Temporary planning permission for the Courtyard Theatre is in place until the end of 2012 and it will be in use for the World Shakespeare Festival as part of the Cultural Olympiad in 2012.