The National Theatre’s Cottesloe space is to be renamed the Dorfman theatre after a £10 million personal philanthropic gift from Lloyd Dorfman, founder and chairman of Travelex and a member of the NT board.
The money has been donated towards the National Theatre’s NT Future redevelopment project which will transform the theatre’s Denys Lasdun-designed home on the South Bank, plans for which were granted planning permission last month. Dorfman’s gift kick-starts the theatre’s £70 million fundraising campaign.
Dorfman’s company Travelex has been working with the National Theatre since 2003. Every year the theatre’s Travelex £10 Tickets season offers tickets to several productions in the Olivier auditorium for £10. The latest show in the current season is Nicholas Hytner’s production of Hamlet.
Dorfman commented: “I have been privileged to play a leading role at the National Theatre over the past eight years, in particular with the pioneering Travelex £10 Tickets season… NT Future is the next step in the National’s constant aim of welcoming new audiences and bringing them closer to the theatre – both the work on stage and behind the scenes. Individual and corporate support is vital to building on London’s leadership in the arts and I hope others will join me in wanting to build on the National’s role at the heart of modern theatre and sustaining it long into the future.”
Among the plans included under NT Future are the creation of a new education and participation centre, the rebuilding of the Cottesloe and its foyer, a public walkway through backstage areas, a new production building and the remodelling of the theatre’s public spaces, including a new café and green spaces.
Dorfman’s gift has been welcomed by Hayden Phillips, chairman of the National Theatre, who commented: “His supremely generous gift – the largest donation ever made to the NT – will further the National’s determination and ability to thrive in the coming years. I hope it will also act as a spur and inspiration to other philanthropists, as a powerful demonstration of faith in the performing arts.”
National Theatre Artistic Director Hytner added: “I couldn’t be more grateful to him; it is entirely fitting that his family name will be associated with an auditorium which often plays host to our most innovative work, and whose redevelopment will transform our facilities to introduce theatre to generations to come.”
The Cottesloe theatre – the smallest of the National Theatre’s three spaces, though capacity will be increased as part of the plans – will be renamed the Dorfman theatre following the completion of the redevelopment programme in 2014. An adjoining public room will be named the Cottesloe Room.