Wednesday, September 3, 2008

RSC Launches Public Donation Appeal

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has launched an appeal to raise £1m in public donations to help rebuild its main theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. The theatre closed for redevelopment in 2007 and the RSC has already received more than £100m towards the work. Now the company is seeking a further £10m and is hoping £1m will come from public donations. Donors will be able to sponsor a brick for £50, or have a seat in the theatre in Warwickshire named after them.

The transformation of the Grade II listed building started last year and should be completed by 2010. The new auditorium will incorporate the art deco facade of the 1932 theatre. Plans include a "thrust" stage for the main theatre, a 108ft (33m) tower at the entrance and a riverside walkway. The RSC has already raised £102m, including £50m from the Arts Council of England and £22m in private pledges.

The RSC has a long history of raising money from private sources. When fire severely damaged the original Stratford theatre in 1926, it was rebuilt following an international emergency appeal. And in the 1980s the nearby Swan Theatre was paid for entirely by an American philanthropist, Fred Koch.

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