The Arts Council revealed last night that it may soon give its backing to three major arts projects, including an overhaul of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford and a refurbishment of London's South Bank Centre.

According to a report in The Independent newspaper, the Arts Council is committed in principle to the two schemes as well as to the construction of a new music complex at Gateshead in Tyneside. Arts Council director Phil Murphy commented that funding depended on the organisations concerned coming up with 'high quality' proposals which would offer value for taxpayers' money.

In March of this year, the Arts Council scotched a bid from the South Bank Centre for £75m towards a £135m revamp of the notoriously ugly concrete complex. The design by Lord Rogers included an undulating glass roof which would encase the entire complex. The failure of the proposed scheme prompted many resignations from the South Bank board. The Arts Council says that the South Bank could now count on a maximum of £25m from its coffers.

The Royal Shakespeare Company confirmed in August that it hoped to replace the 1,500-seat, Art Deco-style Royal Shakespeare Theatre, built in 1932, with a more modern and production-friendly building. The new building is expected to cost in the region of £80 million.

The RSC has also been given an addition £832,000 of Lottery money in order to install a new box office. The new high-tech box office could process an additional £500,000 in ticket sales per year.