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Lights on for long time RST residents

Stratford Editorial 9th Jan, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

THE LIGHTS are shining on some long time residents at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

Five sculptured panels carved by Eric Kennington in the early 1930s when the theatre originally opened, are being highlighted every day from dusk til midnight.

The five so-called bas-reliefs depict emotions in Shakespeare’s plays – Jollity, Life triumphing over Death, Love, Martial Ardour and Treachery.

RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran made the decision to give more prominence to the sculptured panels following the firework display in front of the theatre last April to mark Shakespeare’s 450th birthday.

Mr Doran said: “If you look up at the front of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre after dark you will see five of its many treasures brightly revealed in all their glory, for the first time.

“Thanks to Head of Lighting, Vince Herbert and his team, the intricate detail of the bas reliefs can be studied properly and enjoyed. The sculpted panels, carved in situ, directly into the brick, are the work of Eric Kennington. He began the work in September 1931, in readiness for Elizabeth Scott’s new art-deco theatre to be opened in April 1932.

“The panels were inspired by the calendar carvings on Chartres Cathedral. But what do they portray? Well, don’t expect to recognise any specific characters, because they are allegorical, and represent ‘emotions in Shakespeare’s plays’.

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