Gregory Doran, Artistic Director pays tribute to Frederick Koch, RSC Honorary Emeritus Governor who died this week.

We were sorry to hear the news that Frederick Koch, one of our Honorary Emeritus Governors, died this week. Frederick was a generous arts patron and we owe him a great deal of thanks as he funded the construction of the Swan Theatre in the 1980s in the shell of the original Memorial Theatre, which burned down in 1926.  

His generosity was only made public when the theatre was opened by our Patron, Her Majesty The Queen, in 1986. It is well documented that the money to fund the construction of the Swan Theatre was difficult to find, and plans for the theatre had to be shelved with the model being housed in the theatre’s Picture Gallery. It wasn’t until Frederick saw the model in a Picture Gallery exhibition, and following conversations with Trevor Nunn, that the ambition to build a new theatre became a reality. 

Without Frederick’s support the Swan Theatre would not have been built.

Talking about Frederick, Gregory said: "Fred was a gentleman and an aesthete. His passion for plays of the Jacobethan repertoire found its precise realisation in the building of the Swan, a 'golden round' which remains quite the most beautiful theatre in the world."


HM The Queen opening the Swan Theatre. Swan Theatre opening photographs, November 1986.
Swan Theatre opening, 1986: from left to right are Trevor Nunn, Pete Postlethwaite, Frederick Koch, The Queen, Geoffrey Cass
Photo by Joe Cocks © Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Browse and license our images
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