Cattrall and Pennington's Anthony and Cleopatra closes Festival Theatre
Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, starring Kim Cattrall and Michael Pennington and directed by Janet Suzman, is the last production in the Festival Theatre before the RENEW redevelopment project begins in October when the Festival Theatre closes for 18 months.
The recent very welcome news of a £12m award from the Arts Council England, together with a further £8m of pledged supports, allows development to begin on site this year.
The inevitable noise and disruption during demolition works makes a winter 2012 season in the Minerva impossible. However Festival 2013 will be announced, as is traditional, in February. Productions will be housed both in the Minerva Theatre and a 1,400 seat temporary auditorium, the Pavilion, which will stand in Oaklands Park and will have air-conditioning, high quality, comfortable, padded seating and a large foyer area complete with an open plan bar and cafe and extensive toilet facilities.
The final £2m for the redevelopment has yet to be raised, but at the end of the extensive upgrade and refurbishment programme the Festival Theatre will reopen in 2014 ready for another 50 years of theatre.
Anna Chancellor and Toby Stephens star in Noel Coward’s Private Lives, directed by Jonathan Kent and running from 21st September until 27th October in the Minerva. This is the final production for Festival 2012.
The Theatre on the Fly has housed some excellent productions in its two months in the Park, as well as music and comedy performances, but is now being taken down piece by piece and will live on. All the materials will be recycled including the wood, which is being given to the Aldinbourne Trust for people with learning disabilities to use for craft making.
Antony and Cleopatra opened on Friday 7 September and runs until 29 September.