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Shakespeare Memorial Theatre Foundation Stone Laying at Stratford-upon-Avon on July 2nd 1929

Leading lights of the Masonic fraternity are uncharacteristically conspicuous in this theatrical ceremony.

Non-Fiction 1929 18 mins Silent


A suitably theatrical ceremony, with key roles for leading lights of the usually publicity-shy Masonic fraternity, marks the beginning of work on the new Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in 1929. This would be the second Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, and would open in 1932 on the site next to its gothic predecessor, tragically destroyed by a fire in 1926.

Lord Ampthill, who lays the stone, was a former Viceroy of India and a prominent figure in the Freemasons, as well as being President of the Magic Circle. Designed by Elisabeth Scott, the theatre was the first major building by a female architect. It was renamed the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in 1961, and underwent an ambitious redevelopment between 2007 to 2010.