RSC announces record results for 2011/12 at AGM

14 September 2012

Royal Shakespeare Company announces record results for 2011/12 at its Annual General Meeting in Stratford today

Highlights:

  • Record results in 50th Birthday year and first full year in transformed home
  • 1,082 performances of 26 productions across all locations
  • Playing to 708,022 people – almost double the previous year
  • Box office takings doubled from £8.3m to £18.1m and ticket capacity was 89%
  • Trading income almost tripled from £1.5m to £4.4m
  • Sponsorship and donations rose from £2.3m to £5.1m
  • Overall turnover increased by 54% and topped £50m for first time

At today's Annual General Meeting in Stratford-upon-Avon, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) presents record results for 2011/12, the Company's 50th birthday year and the first full year of operation in its newly transformed home.

Box office takings have more than doubled from £8.3m to £18.1m, commercial income from trading has almost tripled from £1.5m to £4.4m and sponsorship and donations have risen from £2.3m to £5.1m – all of which have allowed the Company to increase the percentage of self-generated income from 52% to 67%. Overall turnover has increased by 54% and topped £50m for the first time ever.

Since the Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres reopened in November 2010, 1.3m people have visited the buildings or attended a performance. During 2011/12, the Company welcomed 50,000 diners, saw 43,000 people take a trip up the new Tower and gave theatre tours to 19,000 people – winning VisitEngland's highest accolade, the Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award for 2011.

Across all locations, the RSC gave 1,082 performances of 26 productions and played to 708,022 people, selling twice as many tickets as in the previous year, but maintaining a capacity of 89% and securing approval ratings of 95% from audiences.

The year also saw world record beating results for the RSC's production of Matilda The Musical, which transferred to London in October 2011. Matilda The Musical won seven Olivier awards in April 2012, the highest ever, beating the previous record of six, also held by the RSC for Nicholas Nickleby. Since it opened, Matilda The Musical has played to almost 400,000 people, at an average of 95% capacity over its run, with a total matured and advanced gross of £24m.

In Stratford-upon-Avon, the RSC celebrated its 50th birthday with highly successful seasons of work, exploring Shakespeare, the classics and the best of the Company's back catalogue of 300 commissioned new plays. The RSC continued its tradition of experimentation and innovation, supporting 17 projects with artists, writers and directors through the RSC Studio.

In New York, in July and August 2011, the RSC's long ensemble played seven Shakespeares, presented by Lincoln Center Festival and Park Avenue Armory, in association with The Ohio State University, in a thrust stage auditorium, the Scarlet & Gray Stage, built in the Company's Stratford workshops and shipped across the Atlantic in 46 containers. For the first time ever, Americans were able to experience the RSC's work just as a Stratford audience does.

Across the UK, the RSC toured to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Richmond and Bath with its production of The Taming of the Shrew and extended its education work through new partnerships with five theatres, growing the reach of its Learning and Performance Network of 400 schools. The specially-commissioned Young People's Shakespeare production of Hamlet also toured schools and theatres in the West Midlands, Cornwall, Plymouth, North East England, Rotherham and Merseyside, establishing a new model for touring which reached right into the heart of communities and played to almost 10,000 people, 45% of whom were new to the RSC. And the RSC launched Teaching Shakespeare, its new online professional development offer for teachers, in partnership with the University of Warwick.

During the year, the Company also began preparations for the World Shakespeare Festival, which the RSC is producing with more than 70 partners and thousands of artists as part of London 2012 Festival. The World Shakespeare Festival opened on 23 April 2012 and runs to November.

Nigel Hugill, RSC Chairman, said:

“As Michael and Vikki prepare to hand over to Greg Doran and Catherine Mallyon in this Olympic year, there's a real sense of the baton being passed on. It marks the end of the most tremendous stint and I would like to thank them both, publicly and wholeheartedly, for all they have achieved together.

“They have led the RSC over the last ten years with real vision, ambition and compassion, balancing the books, transforming our Stratford home and commissioning and staging some of the greatest theatre of the decade – from Michael's acclaimed Histories cycle and The Complete Works Festival, through to our now mesmerising, wonderful production of Matilda The Musical.”

Michael Boyd, RSC Artistic Director, said:

“It has been a hard decision to leave the RSC, this year of all years. Why leave the company of all these gifted people who have produced our brilliant opening and 50th Birthday seasons, our unprecedented residency at Lincoln Center Festival in New York, our UK-wide World Shakespeare Festival for the Olympics, which has changed British culture and our understanding of Shakespeare forever, and Matilda The Musical, the most garlanded West End musical in history, while running the most rigorous, successful and influential education programme in the country, all in one year?

“This last year has certainly scuppered the hopes I might have had of having a gentle wind down, but I am glad to be leaving before I really want to and at a time when the company is prolific and successful. I owe all my colleagues and all the brilliant artists who have given us their best work, a huge debt. Together they make a great team for Greg Doran and Catherine Mallyon to lead onto the next stage of the Company's journey.”

Vikki Heywood, RSC Executive Director, said:

"We've had a record breaking year and the response to our new home has been incredible. Nothing has inspired me more during my time at the RSC than the breadth of age, interest and knowledge of our audiences in Stratford, the UK and around the world. They have embraced more than 150 productions, experienced our work in a multitude of spaces and interpretations and enjoyed a broadened relationship through our website and on film. I know we have inspired a new generation to love Shakespeare.

“Since arriving at the Company, I have focused on making the RSC a great place to work, widening our audience reach, increasing our influence in arts and education policy, transforming our estate and securing a strong financial base. With so many of my ambitions accomplished, it feels like the right time to go – but I cannot leave without expressing my gratitude to all our audiences, funders and supporters. We simply couldn't have achieved what we have without their backing and I thank them all.”

Gregory Doran, RSC Artistic Director Designate, said:

“Michael and Vikki leave the RSC in great shape for the future and Catherine and I will be building on strong foundations. Michael has generously programmed through to the end of 2013 to allow me some breathing space. I'm going to take advantage of this over the coming months, alongside rehearsing my new production of The Orphan of Zhao, which opens in Stratford in October, and I'll be announcing my first future artistic plans early in the New Year.”

Catherine Mallyon, RSC Executive Director Designate, said:

“I'm looking forward to working closely with Greg, the whole RSC team and all our partners to build on the Company's many achievements. These are successful and exciting times for the RSC and I will be working to sustain and develop the Company's excellence in Stratford-upon-Avon and in London, around the UK and across the world.”

-Ends-

For press enquiries, please contact:

Liz Thompson, Director of Communications – liz.thompson@rsc.org.uk +44 (0)1789 412667 and +44 (0) 7717 297181

Jane Ellis, Communications Manager – jane.ellis@rsc.org.uk +44 (0)1789 412668 and +44 (0)7966 295032

Website: www.rsc.org.uk

Twitter: @RSCPress

NOTES TO EDITORS:

1. Annual report

Download our Annual Report or read online: http://www.rsc.org.uk/about-us/our-work/annualreport.aspx

2. New appointments to the RSC Board

James Shapiro, Sir William Atkinson and David Tennant (already co-opted) are proposed for election to the Board for a term of three years.

3. Long service awards

Michael Boyd, RSC Artistic Director, and Vikki Heywood, RSC Executive Director, present long service awards to the following people at the AGM:

Forty years' service:
Brenda Gollnast from Stratford-upon-Avon (Senior Costumier, Men's Costume)

Twenty years' service:

Simon Ash from Stratford-upon-Avon (Senior Production Manager)
Richard Brain from Wellesbourne (Senior Scenic Carpenter) (nb Richard is unable to attend the AGM)
Lyn Darnley from Stratford-upon-Avon (Head of Text, Voice and Artistic Development)
Richard Sandland from Low Habberley (Music Co-ordinator)
Kevin Waterman from Birmingham (Musician)
Marilyn Walton from Stratford-upon-Avon (Sales Operator) (nb Marilyn is unable to attend the AGM)

4. Images
For production images of all RSC shows and key staff, register free of charge on the EPO www.epo-online.com

5. Supporters:
The RSC Ensemble is generously supported by THE GATSBY CHARITABLE FOUNDATION and THE KOVNER FOUNDATION

The RSC Literary Department is generously supported by THE DRUE HEINZ TRUST

The World Shakespeare Festival is supported by BP, as Founding Presenting Partner, and by the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor and Arts Council England.

RSC workshops, conferences and professional development courses for students & teachers are generously supported by THE CLORE DUFFIELD FOUNDATION

The Learning & Performance Network is generously supported by THE PAUL HAMLYN FOUNDATION

Matilda The Musical is supported by Holiday Inn.

Open Stages is generously supported by The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

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