Simon Erridge, Peter Wilson and Gillian Darley in conversation, chaired by Denise Bennetts

Hidden from History: Royal Shakespeare Theatre

Series: AA XX 100 Lecture Series
Date: Tuesday 3 March 2015
Time: 18:00
Venue: Lecture Hall
Running time: 96 mins

The widely-praised refurbishment of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s theatre and base at Stratford-upon- Avon restored and revealed fully the high quality of the architecture, designed in 1927-1932 by Elisabeth Scott, an early woman graduate of the AA. Like many women of her generation, Scott is not included in the history books in spite the cultural importance of this high profile project or that an entire issue of Architectural Review was devoted to her theatre and it was ranked one of the ten most important buildings of its decade. In conversation, Gillian Darley, architectural historian, Simon Erridge of Bennetts Associates, lead architect of the refurbishment, and RSC Project Director, Peter Wilson, pull together the strands of history and architecture, conservation and re-use and reconsider the achievement of a pioneer AA woman and the afterlife of her architecture. This conversation is part of the AA XX 100 lecture series.

Leading up to the centenary of women at the Architectural Association in 2017, over the next three years, a series of lectures, organised by AA XX 100, will draw different generations, disciplines and voices into the AA conversation. Through presentations, dialogue and debate, the series will highlight and challenge the concerns and values of the profession from a theorised gendered perspective which recognises the inclusive and collaborative nature of architecture, while serving as a catalyst for bigger ideas and a wider discussion of women in architecture. The series will feature prominent practitioners from contemporary global architecture and urbanism, as well as articulate the substantial contribution that AA women have made in the last 100 years, creating engaging conversations between past and present, men and women, staff and students. 

Gillian Darley is a journalist, writer and broadcaster. She presented a 45 minute BBC Radio 3 programme on Elisabeth Scott accompanied by an essay in the Guardian Saturday Review, 28 January 2011, 'A Stage of her Own'. She is the co-author, with David McKie, of Ian Nairn: Words in Place (Five Leaves, 2013) and in 2014 became the President of the Twentieth Century Society. She also writes a monthly column for Building Design.

Peter Wilson studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge and worked briefly in industry before embarking on a thirty year career in museums which culminated in his role as Director of Projects for Tate where he managed a series of projects beginning with Tate St Ives and ending with Tate Modern. In 2005 he joined the RSC as project director for the transformation of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. He now advises clients on arts projects around the world.

All lectures are open to members of the public, staff and students unless otherwise stated.

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The Architectural Association receives Taught Degree Awarding Powers by the Lords of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council.

The Architectural Association (AA), the oldest independent school of architecture in the United Kingdom, is pleased to announce that it has been granted the power to award its own degrees. As of 1 October 2019, the AA has the right to establish new academic programmes and degree awards and is working to create some of the world’s most pioneering courses in architecture to shape and build the future.

Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) give UK higher education institutions the right to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Prospective students worldwide can apply to the AA Foundation Course (Foundation Certificate), Experimental Programme BA(Hons), Diploma Programme (MArch), and nine taught postgraduate programmes encompassing History and Critical Thinking in Architecture (MA), Projective Cities (Taught MPhil) and Sustainable Environmental Design (MSc/MArch), amongst others.

AA Director, Eva Franch said, ‘since our founding in 1847 we have never ceased to create new horizons, institutionally and academically. This is a significant milestone for the AA and demonstrates how we have grown and progressed as an institution that has always valued independence. Receiving TDAP marks a new era for our institution; these are exciting times for the AA. The process has required considerable work from all members of staff and students. I would like to take this opportunity to credit them for this major achievement’.

President of the AA Council, Victoria Thornton added, ‘the TDAP process has recognised our strong governance, academic standards, scholarship and teaching as well as the environment supporting the delivery of taught higher education programmes’.

The School’s application for Taught Degree Awarding Powers was supported by the Architects Registration Board, the Royal Institute of British Architects and The Open University.