EIF Exhibition Celebrates the Guthrie Thrust Stage
An Edinburgh International Festival exhibition aimed at theatre-goers, looks at how the Thrust Stage has broken down the limitations of the traditional proscenium arch theatre space.
The Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT) exhibition entitled "The Guthrie Thrust Stage 1948 - 2011: A Living Legacy" brings together scale models and photographs to show how thinking about staging plays has evolved over the last half century or so.
The story starts at The Assembly Hall Edinburgh at the 1948 Festival, with Guthrie’s recreation of the medieval morality play Ane Satyre of the Thrie Estaites, just over the road from The Hub where the exhibition is being held.
It is brought up to date with this year’s opening at Stratford-upon-Avon of the new Royal Shakespeare Theatre, which can trace its pedigree back to Guthrie.
At the centre of the exhibition are crafted models of peopled auditoria and stages, all to the same scale, of the five key theatres: the Assembly Hall Edinburgh, the Festival Theatre Stratford Ontario of 1953 and 1957, the Crucible Sheffield of 1971, the recreation of the 1599 Globe in 1997 and the new main theatre at Stratford.
In the course of this journey some of the other theatres, which owe much to Guthrie, are put in context. These include Chichester, the Guthrie Minneapolis, the Vivian Beaumont New York and the Olivier at the National, all of which are illustrated and discussed.
The exhibition was originally created for the Prague 2011 Quadrennial of Scenography and Theatre Architecture, and celebrates the unique contribution of the Thrust Stage to world theatre architecture by director Tyrone Guthrie (1900-1971). This recast the theatre experience and successfully released the actor from the confines of the proscenium arch.
Accompanying the models is a display, which adds many more images, and a thirty-two-page publication with over 50 illustrations in colour and black and white. The exhibition was conceived and designed by Tim Foster, Peter Ruthven Hall and Iain Mackintosh, who also researched and wrote the publication.
The exhibition has already been seen this year at the Crucible, Sheffield, for the 40th anniversary celebrations of the only theatre in Britain conceived by Tyrone Guthrie and his designer Tanya Moiseiwitsch, at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Stratford-upon-Avon to celebrate the transformation of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s new home originally built as the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in 1932, and at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London where it formed part of the Society of British Theatre Designers Transformation and Revelation: UK Design for Performance 2007-2011.
The Guthrie Thrust Stage 1948 - 2011: A Living Legacy exhibition can be seen from this week at The Hub, opening hours Monday-Saturday, 9am-7:30pm and on Sundays, 10am-7:30pm (except Sunday 2 September, 1pm-6pm only).