Chops, Changes & £200 Million for West End Houses???
Date: 6 December 2002
What's a few million between friends? Or to be more exact, £110 million? Really Useful Theatres chief executive Andre Ptaszynski has upped the ante on the cost of refurbishing the West End. Contrary to current Society of London Theatre (SOLT) president Stephen Waley-Cohen, who last month estimated £90 million in outside investment was needed for urgent repair and improvements to West End theatres (See The Goss, 7 Nov 2002), Ptaszynski believes more than double that figure is needed. In this week's edition of The Stage, he puts the price tag of survival at more than £200 million. He also reveals numerous proposals for chopping and changing several venues. RUT itself has looked into knocking together adjoining Shaftesbury Avenue houses the Lyric and the Apollo to create one 1,100-seat playhouse with studio atop. Together with Sam Mendes, the company is exploring turning the 1,200-seat Cambridge Theatre on Seven Dials (currently home to Madness musical Our House) into a larger arts complex, with cinema. And apparently, Cameron Mackintosh will soon be ploughing money into renovating front-of-house facilities at his own Prince of Wales and, in 2004 when they revert to him, at the Queen's and Gielgud theatres, currently owned by RUT.
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