While the arts world waits anxiously to see what impact the recession will have on funding, the Royal Shakespeare Company has received a £5million Lottery windfall.
Arts Council England has announced it is putting the cash into the company to smooth the transition to its new theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. It is intended to provide continued revenue support for the final two years of the construction project, while two of the company’s three theatres are closed.
Alan Davey, chief executive of Arts Council England, said: “The transformation project will provide a world class theatre company with world class facilities. It is absolutely right the Arts Council invests in that and supports the company through the ambitious reinvention of its theatres in Stratford, which will allow it to give even more people a close-up experience of great art.”
Work is on time and budget on the £112million redevelopment of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, which had a £50million award from the Arts Council’s lottery fund.
Construction began in 2007, when the RSC moved into its temporary 1,000-seat Courtyard Theatre, a close match for the future RST, which has proved extremely popular with audiences. It is planned to reopen all three of the RSC’s permanent theatres in Stratford – the RST, The Swan and The Other Place – in 2010, a year ahead of the company’s 50th anniversary.
Vikki Heywood, RSC executive director, said: “We are delighted the Arts Council has been able to make this continued and vital investment.
“The funds will allow us to maintain our commitment to ensemble theatre-making, invest in artistic development and continue to bring work to new audiences in Stratford, Newcastle, London and on tour.
“We are looking forward to an exciting programme in 2009, including the arrival of our next long ensemble, the company who will open our fantastic new building, with a thrust stage at its heart, bringing actors and audiences closer together.”