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National Theatre

Volume 644: debated on Wednesday 12 July 1961

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a further statement about a national theatre.

I have informed the Chairman of the L.C.C. that the Government would be prepared to join with them in considering a scheme to embrace the Old Vic, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford on Avon, and Sadler's Wells.As I informed the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) on 4th July, I would not in any event be prepared to agree to more than the sum of £1 million already approved by Parliament towards capital costs nor could I agree to increase the sum by way of annual subvention already contemplated in accordance with my statement of 21st March. I have made it clear to the Chairman of the L.C.C. that this limit would allow the Government for their part to guarantee to provide an annual subvention of up to £400,000 to cover drama and opera (including any ballet) at the headquarters of the institutions concerned, but not expenditure on provincial touring, which would be provided for separately.I must emphasise that I am not prepared to contemplate any further increase in these figures. Covent Garden and the Royal Ballet will continue to be provided for separately.