Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

RSC's [Pounds Sterling]2m Debt Spells a Year of Discontent

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

RSC's [Pounds Sterling]2m Debt Spells a Year of Discontent

Article excerpt


A TEMPESTUOUS year for the Royal Shakespeare Company has seen its deficit grow by more than pound sterling1 million, according to new figures.

Despite taking more than pound sterling14.5 million at the box office - and receiving more than pound sterling12 million of Arts Council funding, pound sterling1.75 million from the Corporation of London and pound sterling700,000-plus from its stake in the enduring musical Les Miserables - the RSC has slipped pound sterling2.447 million into the red.

A major reason for this was the pound sterling920,000 spent on redundancies and other costs in the wake of the RSC's departure from the Barbican earlier this year, and new working practices across the company.

Today a spokesman defended the RSC's decisions, saying: "This is a most important change in the company's history involving significant modernisation in all areas of the RSC ' s operations.

Although the costs have been higher this year, our new ways of working will help us save money and attract additional resources in the future."

The decline in the RSC's fortunes compares most unfavourably with the National Theatre ' s highly successful financial year - but, unlike the NT, the RSC has been embroiled in months of internal revolution. The slings and arrows assailing the company have stemmed from bold decisions, including radical plans to redevelop its Stratford headquarters and the introduction of short-term contracts to attract star actors.

Many of these ideas have proved relatively successful, but highly controversial - in April Adrian Noble suddenly resigned his post after 11 years at the helm.

RSC chairman Lord Alexander of Weedon wrote in today's annual report: "This has been a time of considerable change, which is vital, but has also been bumpy."

In May, the RSC made its shock decision to desert the Barbican - its London home since 1982 - to begin a nomadic existence with productions spread around a number of venues in the capital. …

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