Tyne & Wear

Newcastle loses out to RSC budget cuts

The Royal Shakespeare company has announced it will not bring a full season of plays to Newcastle this year due to funding pressures.

Michael Boyd, artistic director, said it would resume its "long-standing relationship" with the city in 2012.

He said work would be concentrated in Stratford-upon-Avon due to a 6.9% cut in funding and the opening of the new Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres.

The Newcastle season of plays has run at the city's Theatre Royal since 1977.

Philip Bernays, chief executive of the Theatre Royal, said: "It is a great shame that we will not be presenting the RSC season this year, but we also understand the pressure of budgetary cuts right now and the necessity to make some compromises in the short term."

Mr Boyd said the RSC planned a national tour and a Young People's Shakespeare tour and hoped to bring both to Newcastle in this financial year.

He added: "Our education and events departments are also exploring other ways of programming work in the region during 2011 and we are applying to the Arts Council to support a return with full productions from 2012 onwards."

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