Winston Churchill Fellowship
Memorial Trust Research
In 2004 SRTC's Director Flip Tanner was working for the Royal Shakespeare Company when the RSC Press department asked "when the first proscenium arch theatre was built’? Back then he muttered something about the restoration and said he was not quite sure. Intrigued and determined to acquire that knowledge, he applied and won a Fellowship with the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.
This began a journey to discover why this form of theatre had evolved, especially since the theatre of Elizabethan England was set on quite a different course, at the very same time. The journey began in Vicenza, Italy to see one of three theatres that were the blueprint of the proscenium arch. Then to Paris to see a space where the actors work on a thrust stage built from the remnants of a Victorian proscenium house. Before departing for America he visited Almagro, Spain to study a theatre dating from 1565 or ‘one year before Shakespeare’s birth. Moving on to America presented a number of large thrust stage theatres and experimental venues that attempted to combine the two forms to varying degrees of success.
The argument between proscenium and thrust formats was the focus of his research. In total, Flip visited 30 important precedent theatres and listened to the experiences of those that worked on and around these venues, discovering the social and creative environment that gave birth to both forms. The resultant research and the discoveries made during this important research continue to influence his theatre design projects.
The Churchill Fellowship is a national network of 3,800 dynamic individuals who are inspiring change in every part of UK life. The Fellowship was created as the living legacy of Sir Winston Churchill for the nation, aiming to honour his memory by reflecting his unique contribution to national life.
"What is the use of living, if it not be to strive for noble causes and to make
this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone?”
- Sir Winston Churchill