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Tuesday, 15 January, 2002, 14:15 GMT
Grant capped for Stratford plans
RSC in Stratford
The RSC plans to demolish its home
The Arts Council of England has said it will not bail out the Royal Shakespeare Company with more money if the cost of plans to redevelop its home in Stratford increase.

The RSC has to raise 50m to push forward its plans to develop a theatre village in the Warwickshire town with a further 50m coming from the Arts Council (ACE).

Debra Shipley MP
Debra Shipley MP: Concerns about the plans
The plans are still in the early stages and Gerry Robinson, chairman of the ACE, told a committee of MPs at the House of Commons that the RSC would not be entitled to the 50m grant unless the plans had been carefully considered, detailed and thought through.

He was responding to a point raised by the Labour MP Debra Shipley who said, in her opinion, the RSC plans made clear that the total cost could be "significantly greater than 100m".

'Real sense'

Mr Robinson had said that the 50m grant to the RSC was on the basis that the total costs were 100m.

"But if the 100m proves to be just a portion of the total cost will you be making any more money available?" she asked.

"We have made it very clear on the sum of money for the new project that that is it in a very real sense," said Mr Robinson.

RSC theatre village
The company wants to create a theatre village
At a Culture Committee hearing last week Ms Shipley said her constituents in nearby Stourbridge were not interested in theatre, and lottery money should go towards alleviating social deprivation in the area.

Under the proposals, the existing 1930s, art deco-style theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon would be demolished and replaced with a "theatre village" capable of seating an audience of than more than 1,000 people.

'Ambitious plans'

Mr Robinson said the RSC would be able to raise the 50m it needs to fund the project.

"It is our judgement that that is the most realistic sum of money to do the job in a professional manner," he said.

Earlier, Mr Robinson had told the Culture Committee that the Arts Council admired the RSC's plans.

"They are really ambitious plans. But if there was one arts company in the UK that should be world class it should be the Royal Shakespeare Company.

"They have a very strong team in place to push the proposals though."

See also:

13 Jul 01 | Arts
Strike ballot at RSC
28 Mar 01 | Arts
RSC: Shakespeare and beyond
28 Mar 01 | Arts
RSC eyes new home
06 Sep 01 | Arts
Barbican to get listed status
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