London's Threatened Theatre Museum Receives Lifeline

News   London's Threatened Theatre Museum Receives Lifeline
A lifeline has been thrown to London’s threatened Theatre Museum with the news that the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), who own the Theatre Museum’s current London venue, is collaborating with North West England’s coastal entertainment resort Blackpool on a possible new National Theatre Museum.

The V&A and Blackpool Council are working on a feasibility study with a view to establish a new museum devoted to British theatre and to house the V&A’s theatrical collections. The new museum would complement the V&A’s planned permanent gallery in London which would host major exhibitions and touring displays.

The news arrives after last September’s announcement that the Theatre Museum is likely to close in January 2007 after a collaboration between the V&A and the Royal Opera House fell through due to lack of funding.

In a statement, V&A Director Mark Jones said, "The V&A is committed to showing the theatrical collections to as wide an audience as possible. Blackpool has a strong theatrical and entertainment tradition and attracts millions of visitors a year. A new museum in Blackpool could provide a wonderful platform to tell the story of British Theatre.”

Several Blackpool locations are being considered as part of the feasibility study.

In March 2006 a letter, whose signatories included Diana Rigg, Judi Dench and Vanessa Redgrave, was published in the London Times supporting the Theatre Museum. The crisis was prompted by two failed applications for lottery funding to upgrade the Covent Garden building, which has housed the Theatre Museum since 1987.

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