This film is part of Free

British and Best

A progressive design by a pioneering female architect beats all comers to become the new Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford

Non-Fiction 1928 Silent


Modernist masterpiece or "unspeakably ugly and wrong"? Sir Edward Elgar may have refused to step inside it, but this municipal monument to the works of Shakespeare is still the home of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre – with some amendments over the years. Less than two years after a fire destroyed much of the first Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Elisabeth Scott beat international all comers to design its replacement.

A competition to build a new theatre attracted over 70 entries, but this young British architect (she turned 30 later that year) won out, to become the first female architect to design a major public building in the UK. Interestingly this newsreel short makes more of her nationality than her gender.