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Last Updated: Monday, 10 November, 2003, 11:18 GMT
RSC plays down 'demolition' claim
Dame Judi Dench in Shakespeare In Love
Dame Judi was among critics of redevelopment plans
The Royal Shakespeare Company has played down a report that it is abandoning plans to build a replacement for its Stratford-upon-Avon theatre.

The Sunday Times said plans to demolish the RSC's grade II-listed venue to make way for a 100m "theatre village" were being scrapped.

An RSC spokesman said demolition was "the least likely of our options" but no definite plans had been finalised.

He confirmed a report that RSC chairman Lord Alexander was resigning his post.

Michael Boyd
Boyd refused to rule out "radical plans"
But he said the decision by Lord Alexander - a former chairman of NatWest bank - was not linked to redevelopment of the Stratford site.

"Lord Alexander has come to the end of his three-year term and we were not expecting him to renew," he said.

"He will stay on until we find a replacement. He chairs the organisation but we have a separate chair of the redevelopment."

Plans to redevelop the Stratford site had attracted criticism from actors such as Dame Judi Dench and Sir Michael Gambon.

But speaking on Sky News on Monday, RSC artistic director Michael Boyd refused to rule out any option on development.

"We are digging down and working out what the best plan is. Stratford needs, and is perfectly placed to celebrate, a major renovation, as a market town," he said.

"We have got to lead the way so our plans are ambitious. We are still dealing with more than one option, but I wouldn't rule out fairly radical plans."

The RSC's permanent home remains at the Shakespeare theatre in Stratford, with a smaller base in Newcastle.

The company left its previous London base, at the Barbican, under controversial former head Adrian Noble last year. It recently announced it plans to seek a long-term London home.

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