Transcripts

22 March 2006: The Times, Letters to the Editor

Save the Theatre Museum

Sir, London is arguably the world centre of theatre. Tonight there are more than 60 theatrical productions to see in and around Central London and all the evidence is that one of the key reasons for visiting London for both UK residents and overseas tourists is to go to the theatre.

It therefore seems astonishing to us that tomorrow the trustees of the Victoria and Albert Museum will consider a proposal to close the Theatre Museum in Covent Garden without adequate consultation with either museum users or theatre practitioners.

This wonderful museum houses a unique collection of exhibits, the largest in the world, celebrating hundreds of years of British theatre. The museum contains costumes, designs, manuscripts, books, video recordings, including the National Video Archive of Performance, posters and paintings. All the live performing arts are represented, including drama, dance, opera, musical theatre, circus, puppetry and music hall. This museum plays a major role in increasing the enjoyment, understanding and study of the history, craft and practice of the performing arts in Britain.

As individuals who strive to make a living in the performing arts we are horrified that this important and world-renowned museum could be closed and its collection broken up. We fear this means that most of the exhibits would no longer be available to the public.

We are today calling on the Victoria and Albert Trustees to reject this ill-thought through proposal. What the museum needs is adequate funding to develop its Covent Garden site and to make even more of its outstanding collections available to visitors, school parties, researchers and professional performers such as us.

DIANA RIGG
MARTIN JARVIS
PATRICK MALAHIDE
PETER HALL
DEBORAH FINDLAY
PETER BOWLES
JUDI DENCH
DONALD SINDEN
CORIN REDGRAVE
KIKA MARKHAM
JEMMA REDGRAVE
LYNN REDGRAVE
VANESSA REDGRAVE
NATASHA RICHARDSON
JOELY RICHARDSON
MIRIAM MARGOLYES
HARRIET WALTER
ALEX KINGSTON
London WC2


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