Royal Court faces closure

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The Independent Online
THE ROYAL Court Theatre will have to go into liquidation if it does not raise pounds 3m by next May, its director, Stephen Daldry, warned yesterday.

The plight of one of Britain's most famous theatres illustrates the increasing difficulties recipients of lottery money face in raising the required private cash to match their awards.

If the centre for new writing - home of radical theatre since 1956 when it staged John Osborne's Look Back In Anger - fails to reopen, it will be a disaster for the arts and a severe embarrassment to the National Lottery.

Two members of the board, chaired by Sir John Mortimer,have resigned because of anxiety over the fund-raising process for the pounds 26m redevelopment.

The Royal Court - which has been staging a run of successes in the West End during the closure of its building - had to raise pounds 7m of private money but has managed just pounds 4m. Its redeveloped building in Sloane Square, south-west London, was due to open this month, but this has been rescheduled for next year - if it can raise the necessary cash.

Mr Daldry questioned the wisdom of the Government in insisting lottery recipients raise 25 per cent of the cost of their projects from private sources.

Roy Strong, Review page 5