Letter dated 16 November 2001, to Mr Chris
Foy, Royal Shakespeare Company from Mr Donald James
It is clear from what you say and from your
PR that the directors' proposals were initiated regardless of
any shortcomings of the Theatre about which nobody has said a
kind word and ready to discredit the work and, reputation of Elizabeth
Scott. Your professional experts advised against improvements
to meet the needs of the directors and in particular their need
for a different stage form. This will be the main issue in a planning
inquiry at which it is likely that the advisers will produce their
reports. I would like to see them if this can be approved. I look
forward to hearing from you on this point.
There can be no doubt that the demolition will
be opposed and a case presented for dealing with the majority
of the shortfall affecting the public and the company as mentioned
in my letter to HRH The Prince of Wales.
Various statements in your letter will be relevant
to the inquiry and, I feel, are best left until then.
Millions of people have visited the Theatre
because of the RSC's very high standards of performance. Rarely
does one hear complaint about the Theatre. It does need improvement
which is quite feasible without resorting to demolition. If the
sightlines in churches or cathedrals, similarly the seating and
facilities are unsatisfactory, these cannot be grounds for demolition
particularly when it is impossible to remedy the problems. In
the SMT they are possible, but not entirely.
The present situation stems from the directors
not being prepared to play the hands dealt them. The Theatre has
succeeded in the past and can do so in the present building. If
they are opposed to this then they know what they should do. The
Theatre is more important than the directors.
The PR on the proposals insinuates that Stratford-upon-Avon
D.C. and W.C.C. are not opposed, to them. There have been meetings
but the Councils are in no position to make official comment until
detailed drawings etc are released and used for the planning application.
This also relates to the views of the Stratford Society, business
people and our MP, according to your PR.
The position of the President concerns most
local people, including myself and he is reported as having received
many letters about the proposals. It may be quite erroneous to
raise this aspect but he must be aware of the controversy. Obviously,
whatever he does is well advised and carefully considered but
whatever view he takes on this matter will be controversial. A
serious scheme for improvements prepared by fresh advisers could
resolve this issue although it may not be to the approval of every
director. It would go a long way to dealing with the main factor
in any local inquiry, should one be necessary.