Royal Shakespeare Company 2013 AGM

25 October 2013

Highlights:

  • 1,459 performances of 25 productions 1.5 million people worldwide experienced the RSC's work
  • 420 actors worked and trained with the RSC during the year
  • 403,000 young people and teachers participated in the RSC's Learning and Performance Network
  • 73% of income self-generated
  • Total income increased by 30% to £62.6 million, achieved through a growth in box office of 75%, in fundraising of 28% and in trading income of 9%
  • Major gift to the RSC's endowment fund from Mark Pigott KBE

As the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) opens Gregory Doran's production of Richard II and embarks on its six year journey to perform every one of Shakespeare's 36 plays, the Company reports a strong performance for the last financial year (2012/13) in its Annual Review, published at this afternoon's AGM.

The RSC's annual turnover grew to more than £62m. Box office receipts increased by 75% to £31.6m, revenue fundraising grew by 28% to £4.1m and trading income went up by 9% to £4.8m. At the same time, public investment from Arts Council England fell by a further £0.8m to £16.6m. The Company now generates 73% of its own income.

2012/13 was a year of exceptional activity. The RSC gave 1,459 performances of 25 productions to a total audience of over a million people, more than 335,000 of whom were first time attenders. It worked with and trained 420 actors and welcomed 500,000 day visitors to its Stratford-upon-Avon home, with a wealth of events and exhibitions.

The year began with the World Shakespeare Festival, produced by the RSC for the London Olympics. The Festival involved more than 10,000 artists and 120 partner organisations and reached 1.5m people. It concluded with a season of new adaptations in Stratford, celebrating the world elsewhere in Shakespeare's time, and a major UK and international tour of Gregory Doran's acclaimed production of Julius Caesar.

As well as playing in Stratford, London and Newcastle, the Company toured work to 13 UK cities, 9 UK schools and 5 countries overseas, playing to 83% capacity across all locations.

The RSC's education programmes, including the ground-breaking Learning and Performance Network, reached more than 334,000 young people and its Open Stages initiative to celebrate amateur theatre resulted in skill-sharing between the RSC, ten partner theatres and 263 amateur companies nationwide.

Audiences were highly positive: 96% of ticket bookers rated the RSC's work as good, very good or excellent and 63% rated it as excellent.

The RSC's production of Matilda The Musical continued to play to full houses in London and opened on Broadway in April to extraordinary critical acclaim. In June, the production won 4 Tony Awards, bringing the worldwide awards tally to 47. More than a million people have now seen Matilda and its success has made a major contribution to the financial health of the Company.

The Company also announced today a major gift from RSC America Board member, Mark Pigott KBE. The gift will support a forthcoming production and the RSC Endowment, the latter matched by a grant from Arts Council England's Catalyst Fund. Mark is an ardent supporter of the RSC and his company, PACCAR, generously funded the first dedicated exhibition space in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

The AGM sees the appointment of two new board members, Patsy Rodenburg OBE, Head of Voice at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and actor, Noma Dumezweni. Dame Harriet Walter OBE and Mike Wright, Executive Director, Jaguar Land Rover, become RSC Governors.

The RSC's Annual Review reports on the year and an animated infographic reveals facts, figures and highlights www.rsc.org.uk/annual-report

RSC Artistic Director, Gregory Doran, said:

“It's our job to bring the best possible experience of Shakespeare and live theatre to the widest possible audience and inspire a lifelong love of his work. The Annual Review highlights just some of the work we have shared with more than 1.5m people worldwide.

As we celebrate a strong year, it's a good moment to look forward into the future. Shakespeare has given me a passport through life and it is my ambition that a new generation has the same opportunity, to experience the richness of his plays. Starting with Richard II, we've set a course over the next six years to stage all 36 plays in the First Folio, making every play an event.

I also want to take Shakespeare off his pedestal and put him back in the context of his contemporaries. We are returning the Swan Theatre to the work of those Jacobethan writers, and we hope to reopen our studio theatre, The Other Place, as a creative hub for new work and experimentation, led by my Deputy Artistic Director, Erica Whyman.

The breadth of work we've undertaken in this past year shows we continue to be radical, to try new things and to ask the hardest questions of ourselves and our work. The response we've had to productions as diverse as King John and Matilda shows how willingly audiences respond to that ambition and l look forward to more experimentation.

If Shakespeare is a passport through life, then the arts are essential to the health of the nation. From classroom to auditorium, up and down the UK, I see the value of theatre everywhere. It is important that we make the case for culture and shout loudly about the impact it has on individuals, communities and regions.

We have been fortunate that Matilda, nurtured over several years by a combination of philanthropy and public investment, has allowed us to weather, in part, the storms of funding cuts and economic downturn. We couldn't have planned its extraordinary commercial success and yet we cannot rest on our laurels and rely on its substantial contribution for ever.

The regional theatres we work with across the country face more immediate challenges and we will continue to collaborate with and support them where we can. Great regional theatre is crucial, not just to local audiences, but to the success of the national companies and the West End and we must do all we can to make the case for its future wellbeing.”

RSC Executive Director, Catherine Mallyon, said:

“We have had a very successful year with some very strong results, including a 75% boost in box office receipts to £31.6m, a 28% increase in revenue fundraising to £4.1m and a 9% increase in trading income to £4.8m. We are proud of the 47 awards Matilda has now won and of the audience responses we have had to our work – 96% said our work was good, very good or excellent and 63% said it was excellent. I'm also delighted we worked with 7,200 amateur theatre makers and 2,400 teachers, right across the UK.

However, the fantastic figures mask some real challenges. There is significant pressure on us and on arts organisations up and down the country. We know this because we are out there, performing and working, in every region. Cuts in public investment are biting. Local authorities are having to take unwelcome decisions. Trusts and foundations face pressures on their own endowment returns. And corporate sponsorship for the arts is falling, especially outside London.

We are responding to the challenges with vigour, to bring the best possible theatre to the widest possible audience. We are working hard to maintain a healthy mixed economy, where public investment leverages income from commercial revenue, sponsorship and philanthropy and, of course, from people who choose to buy our tickets. And we are collaborating with and supporting other organisations where we can, making the case for the arts to be woven into every strategic development plan and inward investment strategy.

Encouraging philanthropy and private investment is an important opportunity for UK arts and is essential in order for the RSC to make great theatre. Mark Pigott's generous and significant gift is a commitment to our future, and I hope it will inspire others to join him in contributing to artistic excellence.

The arts have been correctly described as the 'rocket fuel' of a local economy and as 'essential services'. But these compelling descriptions do not paint the full picture. The arts provide something vital to us all: they entertain us, they emphasise our humanity and they create a sense of place and of community. We'll champion that.”

RSC America Board member, Mark Pigott, said:

“The Royal Shakespeare Company continues to deliver world class productions of classic plays and spectacular new works, such as Matilda. All of us look forward to Greg Doran's commitment to stage the entire First Folio over the next six years on the stage of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. In addition, I am pleased to support the RSC's endowment fund, which is important to nourish the arts. Hopefully, this gift and those of many other generous supporters will encourage more patrons to support the RSC, with the added benefit that their gift will be matched by the Arts Council.”

-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 Review and Infographic

View our Annual Review and new animated Infographic (produced with the help of our Visual Communications and Sound teams) at: www.rsc.org.uk/annual-report

2. New appointments to the RSC Board and Governors

Patsy Rodenburgh OBE and Noma Dumezweni (already co-opted) are proposed for election to the Board for a term of three years.

Dame Harriet Walter DBE and Mike Wright, Executive Director, Jaguar Land Rover, are proposed for election as Governors for a term of five years.

3. Long service awards

Gregory Doran, RSC Artistic Director, and Catherine Mallyon, RSC Executive Director, present long service awards to the following people at the AGM:

20 years' service:
Carol Morris, Front of House Assistant from Bidford on Avon
Jane Trotman, Sales Operator from Stratford-upon-Avon
Linda Wimperis, Front of House Assistant from Tiddington

30 years' service:
Maggie Atkins, Property Workshop, from Warwick
Paul Collins, Scenic Workshop, from Clifford Chambers
Julian Gilbert, Footwear and Armoury from Stratford-upon-Avon

4. Images

To request production images of all RSC shows and key staff please go to:
www.rsc.org.uk/press-images

5. Supporters:

The RSC Ensemble is generously supported by THE GATSBY CHARITABLE FOUNDATION and THE KOVNER FOUNDATION

The Royal Shakespeare Company in America is presented in collaboration with THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY

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

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

Supported by BP, Founding Presenting Partner of the World Shakespeare Festival

The Learning & Performance Network is generously supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation

American Airlines is the preferred airline for Matilda The Musical

Barclays – Supporting Partner of Julius Caesar in Russia

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