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Theatres Trust announce winning Spend a Penny theatres

Eight theatres will receive £15,000 primarily towards improving facilities for women

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Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis; Liverpool's Royal Court and Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
© Peter Wiles (left)

Eight theatres have been awarded £15,000 in funding through the Theatres Trust's Spend a Penny campaign.

The initiative was set up to improve the state of toilets, especially women's, in theatres around the UK.

The theatres receiving the funding are: Shelley Theatre, Bournemouth; Darlington Hippodrome; Liverpool's Royal Court; Little Angel Theatre, Islington, London; Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis; Tyne Theatre and Opera House, Newcastle-upon-Tyne; Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough; and Theatre Royal Wakefield.

The money will also be used to improve gender neutral and unisex toilets.

Simon Ruddick, who set up the scheme after his wife's complaints about ladies' loos, said: 'Although my original impulse was simply to ‘lift the lid' on this specific issue, we hope that other donors will bear in mind the contribution that theatres make to the community and the contribution that the Theatres Trust makes to the community of theatres.'

Currently, the code of practice for design of sanitary facilities states that an auditorium with a capacity of 500 should have eight ladies' toilets. The trust claims many theatres do not reach this standard, and it is hoped this funding will help the theatres get up to scratch.

In a poll we ran in August when the scheme was launched, 68 per cent of people said they think ladies' toilets in theatres need improving, with a further 20 per cent adding men's do too.

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