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Thursday, 9 August, 2001, 10:26 GMT 11:26 UK
National bids for younger audience
Martine McCutcheon
Martine McCutcheon's My Fair Lady was hailed a success
The National Theatre has launched a bid to attract younger audiences by creating two new performance spaces and lowering its prices.

Bosses are hoping cutting-edge writers and directors will be wooed into putting on productions during its 25th anniversary year which will appeal to a new audience.

The 1.5m project, entitled Transformation, will see the Lyttleton Theatre transformed into two separate stages, seating 650 and 100 people.

Ticket and bar prices are also expected to be dropped to make visiting the theatre a more affordable experience.

Trevor Nunn
Trevor Nunn will be stepping before the end of the year

Mick Gordon, previously of the London Fringe venue The Gate, has been brought in to oversee the project.

The 30-year-old has also been named associate director.

The six month experiment will begin in May 2002.

The National has recently staged a successful run of My Fair Lady, starring Martine McCutcheon, which brought in a younger audience.

It is hoped the more intimate spaces will encourage up-and-coming artists to showcase their work, bringing in audiences who may traditionally shun the theatre.

Shortcomings

Writers and directors trying to make a name for themselves have been fearful in the past of being able to fill the Lyttleton and the larger Olivier Theatre.

The larger of the two spaces will see each seat no more than 25 feet away from the stage, while a smaller "loft" area will be more informal.

A top price ticket will be pegged at 18.

The National has accepted its shortcomings in bringing in a younger crowd.

Theatre director Trevor Nunn, who is stepping down this year, said: "The problem that we are facing is that we have to do more to capture the under-30 audience to come into this building.

"We believe many more young people used to come to the theatre than currently do.

"We feel we have got to do something radical about attracting younger audiences."

Money for the project will be coming out of the National's existing budget and from sponsorship.

See also:

18 Apr 01 | Arts
National's Nunn to leave
02 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Eyre calls for cheaper theatre
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