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Thursday, 20 September, 2001, 12:09 GMT 13:09 UK
RSC's financial challenge
Nigel Hawthorne
Nigel Hawthorne has starred in RSC's King Lear
By Royal Shakespeare Company director Adrian Noble

Gone are the days when "box office + subsidy = balanced budget".

For arts companies like the RSC, funding is no longer a question of hoping that the Arts Council might increase your annual grant and that you have a good year at the box office.

There is now a fundamental duty to be more enterprising, or even creative, in our attitude to generating income.

This entrepreneurial approach can be very stimulating, leading to very fruitful artistic partnerships.

Artistic director Adrian Noble
Noble: "Duty to be creative in attitude to generating income"
The RSC now collaborates with a number of organisations at home and overseas to co-produce work.

These include the Young Vic and the Lyric Hammersmith at home, and further afield with the Denver Center of Performing Arts, who collaborated with the RSC to produce Peter Hall's Tantalus.

Even more exciting is the RSC's new five-year partnership with the University of Michigan.

This educational and artistic venture reflects the very natural link that exists between learning and theatre and will produce exciting initiatives for educational and artistic communities, as well as audiences, in both the UK and the US.

RSC logo
RSC Stratford employs 648 people
The RSC has quite deliberately developed a policy of seeking partnerships on a entrepreneurial basis to bring resources into the company and also to take the RSC into new territories.


  • RSC Stratford employs a total of 648 people: equivalent to 530 annual full-time equivalent jobs.

  • 325-370 further jobs are supported by the spending of the RSC amongst local firms and visitor spending of RSC customers.

  • An average of 100 actors are employed by the RSC at any one time (Stratford, London, touring, transfers).

  • The RSC is one of the biggest employers in Stratford-upon-Avon - the town's population is around 24,000 people.


The RSC believes in the training and development of actors, writers, directors and other members of the artistic community. Many of today's acting stars have been a part of the Royal Shakespeare Company. These include:

  • Dame Judi Dench
  • Ralph Fiennes
  • Kenneth Branagh
  • Juliet Stevenson
  • Patrick Stewart
  • Ian McKellan
  • Joseph Fiennes
  • Emily Watson

In 2001 RSC actor David Oyelowo won the prestigious Sunday Times Ian Charleson Award (for best classical actor under 30). Seven other RSC actors were nominated.


The RSC is one of the UK's best value theatre companies. In the last 10 years, the company has mounted 171 new productions, given 19,000 performances, sold 11 million tickets, and played in 100 towns and cities in the UK and 50 towns and cities around the globe.

  • The RSC's turnover is 32m

  • The RSC's Stratford wage bill is 10.53m

The RSC's most recent London season (October 2000- May 2001) saw:

  • 25 productions across the capital

  • 7.7m taken at the box office

  • 370,000 attenders saw an RSC production in London, of whom 50% visited the Barbican, 50% visiting RSC productions at other theatres

  • RSC brings an estimated 31.75m worth of investment to the Stratford/West Midlands area each year

  • RSC brings an estimated 18m worth of direct income into the Stratford area, including 11.8m of self-generated income

  • Estimated visitor spending outside the theatre, directly attributable to the RSC is between 12.8 and 14.7m each year

  • 61% of the RSC's income is self-generated, selling more than 15m of tickets in 1999/2000

  • The RSC received 10.5m in subsidy from the Arts Council of England in 1999/2000 (33.5% of income)

  • The RSC received 1.73m in grants from the Corporation of London, for the provision of theatre at the Barbican in 1999/2000 (5.66% of income)
Audience & Reach:

  • The RSC's total annual audience is about one million people

  • 85% of the British population is within an hour's drivetime of an RSC production within a year

  • Performed more than 40 weeks of UK touring in year 2000/1

  • Stage on average over 1900 performances each year

  • 69% of the RSC's performances in the UK take place at theatres outside of London

  • In 1998, the RSC launched a policy of programming for family audiences with a new stage version of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. This production alone attracted 40,000 first-time attenders to the RSC

  • More than 250,000 people in the UK under the age of 25 see the RSC's work each year.

BBC News Online looks at how the arts are funded in the UKArts funding
How the UK's cash for the arts is spent
See also:

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