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Stage Types – Theatre in the Round

Theatre in the Round

Theatre in the Round

Theatre in the Round became increasingly popular in the late 1960s in the UK and Europe, with initially the format proving popular in smaller venues and studio spaces. The first “Theatre in the Round” theatre in the UK was the formed by Stephen Joseph in 1955, now called the Stephen Joseph Theatre. However, a permanent location was not found until 1988 by artistic director and playwright Alan Ayckbourn.

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The first large Theatre in the Round was built in a disused corn exchange in Manchester in 1976 and was named “The Royal Exchange Theatre”. The Royal Exchange is now one of the country’s most well known theatre outside of London.

The first Theatre in the Round in America was the built at The University of Washington in 1940.

Theatre in the Round offers the audience a closer intimacy with the stage than proscenium theatre, and it also puts the audience in direct view of each other. A 360 degree sight line means that large scenery is out of the question unless it is suspended above the actors’ heads and out of the audiences’ view. Theatre in the Round tends to be a format chosen for intimate productions, although some large scale operas and theatre productions have also used the format.

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