Letter: Victorian attitudes to RSC sponsorship

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The Independent Online
Sir: Are sponsorship credits really as sensitive an issue as David Lister ('When the corporate customer cracks the whip', 24 March) suggests? What Royal Insurance and British Telecom and Northumbrian Water sell is self-explanatory. The corporate name prompts the RSC audiences, who are the direct beneficiaries of any sponsorship of the RSC, to think in a single thought about the product and the brand. There are few objections to this.

Sainsbury's household name immediately reminds theatregoers of the groceries and goods they sell. There is no apparent problem here, either.

Unilever, the RSC's newest, welcome sponsor, happens not in itself to be a household name. So why should it become distasteful to inform RSC audiences that their enjoyment has been made possible by the sales of Flora and Persil, the particular brands of groceries and goods that Unilever makes?

Surely, we don't still have the Victorians' need to drape piano legs, lest they should be distracted from the music by the spectacle of such vulgar limbs? Provided the tunes are not interfered with (and the RSC's certainly have not been) can it really be offensive to show what a helpful job the legs do in stopping the piano from falling over?

Yours sincerely,


General Manager

Royal Shakespeare Company


24 March