Oscar winner Kevin Spacey, who has been artistic director of London's Old Vic since 2003, has revealed his plans to step down from the venue in 2015, but is seeking to put in place a £20 million endowment fund before that to secure the building's future.
In a statement to the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph, he said, "I’m now planning to leave in 2015 and am determined to raise £20 million by then as an endowment fund to make the theatre is fit for the 21st century. We can then use the £20 million to give us £1 million-a-year income to help refurbish the theatre – like more ladies loos and more bar room."
Last June the Old Vic was one of 34 arts and heritage organizations to be made an award under the Catalyst, an endowments program initiated by the UK government's Department for Culture, Media and Sports, Arts Council England (ACE) and the Heritage Lottery Fund, designed to enable organizations to attract private funding and build endowments that can provide an annual income.
The Old Vic was duly awarded £5 million, conditional on the theatre itself raising a further £15 million in match funding over the next three years. The theatre will use this grant in the long term to provide support for production, community and education programming, as well as for the upkeep of the building.
In a press statement at the time of the Arts Council announcement, Spacey commented, "This is wonderful news for the Old Vic. Theatre production is a risky business and we are enormously proud to have created a stable foundation for the Old Vic without subsidy, by producing work that has engaged audiences and built a loyal following. But we need to protect the Old Vic for the future, provide a financial cushion against economic instability and to ensure that our vital education and community programs can be maintained for the long term. This award is a real endorsement of The Old Vic, a celebration of what we have achieved together with our many collaborators from the theatrical community over the past nine years and an encouragement to philanthropists to match the Arts Council's generosity. It will also serve to protect the future of this historic and important building and to ensure it is home to great theatre for generations to come."