NT fundraising ‘on target’ for £70m revamp

Natalie Woolman

The National Theatre has already raised £37 million towards the £70 million cost of its NT Future capital project, Nicholas Hytner has revealed.

The capital programme will see its Cottesloe venue refurbished and extended, the creation of a dedicated education space on site – a Clore Learning Centre – and a new production building south of the National for designers and technical staff. This production hub will include a paint studio that passers-by will be able to look into from the street to see scenic artists at work.

Hytner revealed last week that the theatre’s development team had raised £37 million from individuals, trusts and foundations. This includes the £10 million personal gift from Travelex founder Lloyd Dorfman – after whom the Cottesloe will be renamed when the plans have been completed – and major donations from the Monument Trust and the Clore Duffield Foundation. The amount raised so far does not include any public or Lottery money.

Hytner said the funds raised were “enough to indicate to us that we will hit our target”.

The Cottesloe will close at the beginning of 2013 for around a year so the capital work can take place. Hytner said the National would continue to produce work during this time but it had not been confirmed whether this would be in an outside venue or somewhere on site.

Hytner also spoke about developing an in-house producing team within the National to oversee the development of War Horse and other NT shows worldwide.

He said: “I have always been cautious, more cautious than Nick [Starr] and more cautious than the team that Nick has built up here in the National Theatre to produce War Horse. We had a dry run with The History Boys doing this ourselves but we now have, within the National, a producing team which simply wasn’t there in 2003 because it has been built up in response to our desire to produce this show all over the world.

“It’s an amazing example of what you can do if you have the cushion of public investment. We now have an entire department, which costs quite a lot to run, and a consequence of this department is that we are making a large amount of money that gets ploughed straight back in to the National Theatre.”

As part of the NT’s expansion into producing, the Royal Court’s executive director Kate Horton is moving to the theatre as deputy executive director later this spring. The National has just won the Stage 100 Award for producer of the year.

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