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Rsc New Team - Same As The Old Team ?


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#31 Epicoene

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 01:30 PM

View PostHonoured Guest, on 19 November 2012 - 11:44 AM, said:

The RSC has acknowledged all this and has repeatedly said it's seeking a sustainable London solution. I don't understand how this would be affordable in addition to all their current activities and the reinstatement of the studio theatre programme in the new The Other Place.

It is not a battle between Stratford and London - they should be able to fund both. They brag in their latest members newsletter (as if I could care less) about securing multi-million dollar funding from Ohio which will enable them to stage more productions in USA whilst at the same time failing to serve their non-Stratford audiences (Newcastle being an even more striking case than London).

It should be eminently affordable for them to have a semi-permanent presence in London because they are still getting that 50% of their ACE grant which was allocated to support a full-time London operation in the first place. Their finances are intriguing, their cost-per-production numbers based on grant received (£15.6 million) divided by number of productions staged per year is stratospheric compared with any other subsidised theatre, even much higher than the NT - given the impact of "the cuts" I expect this anomaly will eventually be noticed and they would do well to start to show a bit more activity for the money received.

#32 Honoured Guest

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 03:26 PM

I don't think it's quite that simple! London costs were surely much less than 50% of total because they're essentially running costs and other venue costs plus full production costs of relatively few new shows. The organisation's "headquarters" establishment wouldn't be increased. Whatever the London net cost, my point is that it would be additional to the current costs.

If "cost-per-production" means total cost divided by number of productions, it would exceed most other subsidised theatres because many RSC shows involve many more actors and other resources. I can foresee a crunch time when local authorities drastically cut funding throughout England and ACE would have to choose between either sacrificing the many throughout the country or diverting funds from the currently priveleged few, like the RSC and NT. A compromise would be for the RSC to be funded to reduce its operations to only the RST, which would be similar to when it effectively ran only the Courtyard, but it would also have to slash its "HQ" organisation to become comparable to any other regional theatre like the Rep In Birmingham.

#33 Epicoene

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 03:40 PM

Just out of interest, when exactly did they tear up (if they did) the agreement with ACE that no public subsidy would be used to run or stage productions in the Swan ? If you recall at the time they built it using a private donation in the face of opposition from the Arts Council who said they could not use any of their grant to run the theatre.

#34 Honoured Guest

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 04:06 PM

1985 was well pre-devolution, so was it ACGB then? The first Swan seasons were cast from within one large Stratford company of actors, so I assume it was possible to apportion and assign costs to demonstrate a breakeven for the Swan without grant income. I suppose that agreements with the Arts Council are always in flux, being reviewed and amended. Perhaps the stipulation that you recall was first softened to say that the Swan operation couldn't be to the detriment of the continuation of all pre-existing activities and then maybe later the Swan programme was recognised by both parties as a core activity.

The first two or three seasons were transferred to the sympathetic Mermaid Theatre in London where new RSC productions were also staged. This was financially unsustainable and most later Swan productions were squeezed into the Pit, although a few transferred to the Barbican Theatre and some didn't transfer at all.

#35 Epicoene

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:40 AM

View PostHonoured Guest, on 19 November 2012 - 04:06 PM, said:

The first two or three seasons were transferred to the sympathetic Mermaid Theatre in London where new RSC productions were also staged.

"Sympathetic " ? That concrete brutalist cellar under a main road ? It was the most unsympathetic venue in London.

#36 Honoured Guest

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:01 PM

So, sympathetic to the undergound Pit theatre, buried beneath a concrete brutalist arts centre. Of course, I meant that the Mermaid stage and auditorium was sympathetic to the Swan stage and auditorium. I expect I'm misusing the word "sympathetic" but I know what I mean.

#37 Epicoene

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:17 PM

The Mermaid stage wasn't anything like the Swan, it wasn't a thrust stage, and the auditorium was totally different too with just rows of forward-facing seats. However the area of the stage and the capacity (600 ?) were probably similar. The RSC did some of their worst work there (The Great White Hope and They Shoot Horses Don't They). I rated the Pit somewhat higher as there was less chance of being run over on your way to the theatre.

#38 Honoured Guest

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:49 PM

"Sympathetic", not "similar". My memory is of the Mermaid stage feeling open to the audience, not tucked away behind a proscenium arch. The steeply raked seating gave the cockpit impression of a whole audience gathered together looking down, like the Swan galleries. The idiosyncratic theatre design and its production history under Bernard Miles kept you very aware that it had a rich performance history and its geographical location in the heart of the City of London added to the "heritage" vibe. For me!

#39 Epicoene

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 01:38 PM

View PostHonoured Guest, on 19 November 2012 - 11:44 AM, said:

I agree that sustainability of RSC London seasons would require a new core audience. But those regular attenders don't justify regular RSC London seasons because those regulars are already superserved by all the current London theatre.

The Orphan of Zhao is an important play in world drama, has been directed by the RSC Artistic Director and has had excellent reviews all round. However, I'm being bombarded by mail shots from the RSC which indicates that ticket sales have been poor. I would say that the Straford regular off-season audience does not justify anything other than a token presence from the RSC during the Winter months and they should move resources to London at that time of the year.

#40 xanderl

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 02:51 PM

I saw it on a Saturday evening with a very sparse audience. Merry Wives, on the other hand, was packed
"witty ... both made me laugh but also gave me pause" - Mark Shenton, The Stage




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