Shows Out, Education In at Future Theatre MuseumDate: 1 September 2006
The Theatre Museum, which has been under threat of closure since Heritage Lottery Fund turned down two grant applications from the Victoria and Albert Museum for redevelopment, is likely to have a complete operational and design overhaul if current plans to join forces with the Royal Opera House go ahead (See News, 19 May 2006).
The Covent Garden venue - which currently hosts an archive of valuable historic theatre memorabilia and, more recently, stage productions in its studio space after the Kings Cross-based Courtyard Theatre set up a temporary residency at the museum while their main site is redeveloped (See News, 21 Sep 2005) - will be used primarily for education and theatre workshops.
As a result, if the partnership gets the green light, there will no longer be a performance space and collections will be displayed elsewhere. The museum is likely to close at the end of this year and reopen in autumn 2007 with a new emphasis on education rather than displays.
A Theatre Museum press statement this week explained: “The V&A and Royal Opera House are continuing their discussions over a partnership which aims to create a new centre at the Covent Garden site which will primarily be for education and theatre workshops with some displays drawing on the collections of both organisations.
“The new centre will not be like the old Theatre Museum. It is widely understood that the current building does not work as a museum and we are looking at alternative ways of displaying the collections at South Kensington at the V&A and in other places.
“The two organisations hope to be able to announce details of the partnership in November 2006. It is expected that, following the announcement, there will be a temporary closure for building work. Although details are yet to be confirmed, this is most likely to be from the end of 2006 until autumn 2007.”
- by Caroline Ansdell