Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Hands Off Our Theatre (HOOT)


  Very many thanks for your letter of 11 February, the contents of which give HOOT a great deal of encouragement.

  In thanking you for your letter I would also like to draw your attention to the fact that Donald James, a fellow member of HOOT and a retired architect, has made a further written submission to the Parliamentary Culture, Media and Sport Committee ["CMS"]. I understand that you and your fellow members will be given a copy of his memorandum.

  In particular, I would like to draw your attention to numbered paragraph 5 on page 2 of the memorandum, concerning consultants reports and the original letters of instruction from the Royal Shakespeare Company ["RSC"] to the consultants in question. Both Donald and I have attempted to see or obtain copies of these documents but to date the requests have been refused.

  HOOT think that these documents should be seen by the CMS. It is our deduction that the ambit of both the instructions and the reports is predicated on demolition of the 1932 Theatre, rather than re-use re-modelling the building, the most cost effective approach and that adduced by Donald James in the memorandum to which I refer.

  It is only at this late stage, having spent £750,000 of public money that the RSC is giving any serious thought to re-modelling. To this end we at HOOT understand that new instructions have been given to another firm of consultants, consuming yet more cash. This is only being done as a result of pressure!

    "Hoot" is a non-political pressure group of concerned individuals anxious to save the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from demolition:

  It is also appropriate to draw your attention, if you are not already aware of the facts, to the parious state of the RSC. Adrian Noble, a salaried employee of the RSC, has been given leave of absence to direct "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", a non-RSC production. He stands to gain substantially from this, whilst the quality of productions at the RSC is abysmal. The first issue of the Sunday Times focussed on the so-called leave of absence and surgery theatre critics have written scathingly about "Midsummer Nights Dream".

  It really begs the question as to Adrian Noble's long term commitment to the RSC's self proclaimed grandiose plans. He appears to be trying to ape the success of his mentor, Trevor Nunn, a theatre personality of consummate skill.

  I hope you find the information in this letter is useful to you as a member of CMS. Thanks again for your letter of 11 February.

  PS. Michael Pennington, an ex-RSC actor, with a big stage reputation has already spoken out against the RSC's plans in the columns of the Guardian. As recently as this week Dame Judy Dench has joined the chorus of disapproval. Her reputation dwarfs that of Sinead Cusack, who gave evidence to the CMS.

28 February 2002

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 26 March 2002