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RSC 5 year arrangement with Cameron Mackintosh
The Royal Shakespeare Company has announced a five year arrangement with Cameron Mackintosh to present annual Shakespeare season in the West End.
Press release below........
The RSC has signed a five-year deal to present its annual London Season in one of three Delfont Mackintosh-owned theatres in the West End.
For its 2005-6 London Season, the RSC will present four Shakespeare comedies at the newly re-named and completely refurbished Novello Theatre (formerly the Strand Theatre) from December 2005 to March 2006.
In subsequent years, Delfont Mackintosh will make available one of three of its West End theatres for the RSC's London Season which transfers annually from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. The agreement will see the RSC ensemble perform in either The Novello Theatre on the Aldwych, the Albery Theatre on St Martin's Lane (to be re-named the Noel Coward Theatre by the end of 2006) or the Gielgud Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue.
The new deal follows the RSC's confident return to the West End in 2004-5 with a successful season of four Shakespeare Tragedies at the Albery Theatre. Productions of Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, King Lear and Macbeth played to over 75,000 people or 87 per cent of capacity at the 830-seat venue. The Company exceeded its Box Office target by over 30 per cent and earned over £1.6 million in Box Office income.
The deal enables the Company to continue its commitment to making theatre accessible to young people. The RSC is re-launching its £5 ticket scheme for 16-25 year olds for the Comedies Season at The Novello Theatre following its successful pilot at the Albery in 2004-5. Over 5,000 discounted £5 tickets were sold to young people at the Albery, including the best seats in the house.
The 16-week Comedies Season at The Novello Theatre includes Michael Boyd's production of Twelfth Night, Nancy Meckler's production of The Comedy of Errors, Dominic Cooke's As You Like It and Gregory Doran's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The four Comedies make up the RSC's 2005 Festival Season, currently playing at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon until October.
RSC Executive Director, Vikki Heywood, said:
We're delighted to be working so closely with Cameron and his team and to be re-opening The Novello Theatre in December following its refurbishment. Few people can match his passion and enthusiasm for theatre and for the West End."This is a good deal for our audiences and guarantees an RSC London Season in one of three fantastic West End playhouses. We proved at the Albery that we can bring a distinctive RSC personality to the West End, with discounted tickets and a full education programme, and still play a Shakespearean season with 'full house' notices posted consistently outside the theatre."The deal secures the Company's future in London while we continue our search for a long-term home for the RSC in the capital. We're well advanced now in our plans for a large-scale thrust auditorium in Stratford that Shakespeare would recognise as a theatre. The challenge on the horizon is to find a complementary theatre in London that matches our ambitions for Stratford."
Cameron Mackintosh said:
"As this year we are celebrating 20 remarkable years of the legendary musical Les Miserables, my hugely successful collaboration with the RSC, I could not be more delighted that the Royal Shakespeare Company has decided to make a five year commitment to do their London seasons in one of my theatres. Now that Delfont Mackintosh Theatres are operating several playhouses it has always been my ambition to have an on-going relationship with an internationally acclaimed subsidised company as part of our programming. I can only echo Stephen Sondheim's sentiments,"Tragedy Tomorrow - Comedies Tonight."
Public booking for the RSC's Comedies Season in London opens on 1 October 2005.