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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 June, 2005, 12:52 GMT 13:52 UK
Deal finds RSC new homes
Toby Stephens in the Royal Shakespeare Company's Hamlet
The RSC's production of Hamlet was a success
The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) will be returning to London at three of the city's West End theatres owned by Sir Cameron Mackintosh.

The RSC, homeless since it left the Barbican in 2001, will return for the 2005-6 season with four Shakespeare comedies at the Novello Theatre.

It will also stage productions at the Albery, set to be renamed the Noel Coward, and the Gielgud Theatre.

The RSC plans to have a permanent London base by 2010.

The company which is also in the process of redeveloping its home in Stratford-upon-Avon, has been showing in the West End on an ad-hoc basis until now.

The deal secures the company's future in London while we continue our search for a long-term home for the RSC in the capital
RSC Executive Director Vikki Heywood

It is hoped Tuesday's deal, to last over the next five years with theatre producer Sir Cameron, will provide a more stable future for the RSC, which receives almost 13m of public funding.

Its 2004-5 West End season has been a success with productions of Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, King Lear and Macbeth playing to 87% capacity at the 830-seat Albery Theatre.

The 16-week Comedy Season at the Novello - formerly The Strand - consists of Michael Boyd's production of Twelfth Night, Nancy Meckler's The Comedy of Errors, Dominic Cooke's As You Like It and Gregory Doran's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Sir Cameron, whose successful long-running musical Les Miserables was originally a collaboration with the RSC, said: "I could not be more delighted that the RSC has decided to make a five-year commitment to do their London season in one of my theatres."

RSC executive director Vikki Heywood said: "This is a good deal for our audiences and guarantees an RSC London season in one of three fantastic West End playhouses.

"The deal secures the company's future in London while we continue our search for a long-term home for the RSC in the capital."

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