Arts / Drama / Education / Performing Arts / Playwriting / Theatre

Theatre Royal Newcastle

"We have had 12,000 learning visits since the learning centre opened last August, including people from all over the world. A large proportion of the people who have been through have been young people who had never been to the Theatre before. That shows how important the funding we received was."

Theatre Royal 1

The Theatre Royal staff had to ‘break the bank’ to complete a huge refurbishment to their Newcastle home, with the help of the Gillian Dickinson Trust. As Richard Berg-Rust, Director of Development at the Theatre explained, staff at the theatre had to undertake a bank job like no other to make way for the new multi-million £ development.

He said: “We literally had to break into the bank next door to complete the new developments to the Theatre. That included taking out a four tonne door from the old building where trustee James Ramsbotham used to work funnily enough.”

The £7.2million development comprises a new cafe and ticket office/reception area, new rehearsal areas, and a new state of the art learning centre which is linked to the old theatre building by the Gillian Dickinson Way. And as Mr Berg-Rust explained, funding from the charity helped kick-start their fund raising efforts: “When we first started to apply for funding the Gillian Dickinson Trust were one of the first to offer us capital, which set the ball rolling and brought in other funding. They were there at the start and I will always remember that.” Mr Berg-Rust was also quick to praise the work of the Gillian Dickinson Trust over the past five years: “The Gillian Dickinson Trust is putting significant sums of money into the arts community in the North-East. The funding and the developments are helping us to bring new people into the Theatre.”

“The Gillian Dickinson Trust think creatively about where they distribute their funds, and it’s nice to have that local connection. We work closely with them. It’s a fitting tribute that the Gillian Dickinson Way links the old Theatre building to the new development. It was opened on Boxing Day with a big pantomime party which was good fun.”