National Theatre's Cottesloe to be renamed the Dorfman

The National Theatre's Cottesloe is to be renamed the Dorfman Theatre following a gift of £10 million from Lloyd Dorfman towards the NT Future redevelopment project.

The donation by Lloyd Dorfman, founder and Chairman of Travelex and a member of the NT Board, will form the cornerstone of the £70 million fundraising campaign. The Cottesloe Theatre will be renamed the Dorfman Theatre in recognition of his donation, when the redevelopment programme is completed in around 2014.

Haworth Tompkins’ architectural designs for NT Future were granted planning permission by Lambeth Council last month.

Below is a press statement by the NT on the main elements of NT Future...

• The creation of a new education and participation ‘Discover’ centre, allowing an extra 50,000 people a year to engage in onsite learning and training activities. By transforming the current Cottesloe Theatre and its foyer and relocating the current adjacent workshops, we can equip the NT for the first time in its history with integral education spaces and facilities to deepen our audience’s engagement with our work. The Cottesloe will be renamed the Dorfman Theatre in recognition of Lloyd Dorfman’s gift; an adjoining public room will be named the Cottesloe Room, preserving the family’s connection to the NT.

• The auditorium of the new Dorfman Theatre will be refurbished to extend capacity (creating at least 10,000 new seats a year), while improving access and comfort, and equipping it for daytime education use with a seating system that allows for quick changes to a flat floor, and improved technical facilities. With improvements to the external entrance, this will animate and open the area during the daytime for the first time.

• The NT building will be opened up to enable audiences to observe its internal life and theatre-making processes, with a high-level public walkway through the workshops and backstage areas.

• A new production building to the south of the NT will give the National a hub for theatremakers to develop their onsite skills, including studios for designers and digital production, and a modernised paint studio offering dramatic views of scenic artists at work and sets being built for visitors and passers-by on Upper Ground.

• The audience experience will be enhanced, relieving the current pressure on our crowded foyers and transforming its sometimes forbidding exterior for first-time visitors. The entrance will be opened to the river, and remodelled to welcome visitors from all directions. Our earned income will be increased by opening a new café-bar on the prime north-eastern riverfront corner (currently occupied by waste and goods facilities). The external areas around the NT will be refurbished to open the National on all sides, drawing more people in with green spaces and gardens.

• In addition, the plans for NT Future prioritise environmental measures to reduce energy consumption, and the renewal of outdated technical infrastructure.

Depending on a successful fundraising campaign, the National Theatre aims to start building works in spring 2012 with a completion date at the end of 2014.

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