Theatrical appeals for lottery cash

It might have seemed an unlucky partnership to choose, but Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn were optimistic yesterday as they descended on the Arts Council to deliver an application for lottery funding.

They were represented by the actors Roger Roseboom and Margaret Boughton, who are hoping for a grant of £200,000 to supplement the £650,000 which has been raised to build a 120-seat theatre in Hampton Hill for Teddington Theatre Club, in south-west Lond o n.

More discreet applications also came in from Sheffield Recreation Band Club, Morcambe Youth Band and the Plowright Theatre, Scunthorpe. The Arts Council expects to make grants totalling at least £100m in the next year.

The highest-profile supplicants on the first day for applications came from the Royal Opera House, which sent Jeremy Isaacs, its director, principal ballerinas Darcey Bussell and Viviana Durante and assorted sopranos and baritones.

Mr Isaacs was in rollicking mood, accusing the chairman of the English Arts Council's lottery board, Peter Gummer, of being Father Christmas and flattening journalists who suggested that the Royal Opera House, which is asking for some £50m to fund its repair and redevelopment, was an elitist use of lottery cash.

Meanwhile, the successful appearance of the Royal Opera House celebrities was viewed with relief by press officers. "Getting them all in the right place looking in the right direction is a minor miracle," admitted one.

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