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Young Vic project backed by Jude Law

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Jude Law has launched a public campaign to raise £2.5 million towards the Young Vic Theatre’s £12.5 million redevelopment project.

The South Bank venue, which opened in 1970, was originally designed by William Howell as a temporary structure with the intention it would be used for just five years. However, more than three deacades later, the theatre management is planning to embark on essential renovation work following the discovery of corrosion in some of the brick work.

Architect Haworth Tompkins has been appointed to completely redesign the building with the exception of the auditorium, which is to remain essentially unchanged, and the original Edwardian butchers’ shop foyer, which currently serves as a foyer and will be retained and improved.

Law, patron of the campaign, said: “It’s more than 30 years since Laurence Olivier’s original vision of a communal theatre for young actors and the Young Vic continues to inspire and evolve all these years later.

“The versatility of the space makes it unique in the capital. It has become a centre for nurturing new talent, new directors and new works and I can think of no better cause to support. This redevelopment is crucial for the future of the theatre. We must not allow it to crumble before our eyes.”

More than £5 million has already been raised for the campaign through donations and grants, including £1 million from chairman Patrick McKenna. The management has applied to Arts Council England’s capital programme for the maximum grant of £5 million and it is hoped that private and corporate donations will contribute towards raising the remaining £2.5 million by May.

Artistic director David Lan said: “We are rebuilding because we must. The new Young Vic will be the old Young Vic in spirit, a marvellous resource for artists and a joy for audiences, but it will be fit for the 21st century. We are almost there and we know we have the public’s support. I’m asking them to show it now, in big ways and small ways.”

Work is expected to begin in July with the project to be completed by the summer of 2006.

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