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Festival Hall could gain sponsor’s name

South Bank Centre chief executive Michael Lynch has admitted that he would consider changing the name of the Royal Festival Hall to incorporate a sponsor's brand name if the right offer was made.

"We might have some doubts about becoming the McDonald's Hall, but have to be open to ideas. We have to consider a sponsor becoming part of the name," he told The Observer this weekend.

Last week the Royal Festival Hall launched its Name a Seat campaign to help raise the final 15 million needed to complete the 90 million redevelopment of the South Bank concert hall.

Joanna Lumley, Salman Rushdie, Gail Rebuck and Tom Stoppard have already put their names to seats in the refurbished auditorium.

Vivien Duffield, co-chair of the Transforming the South Bank Centre Campaign Committee, said: "We are very far behind here in London in providing the right artistic environment for international performers. There has been a lot of money spent on so many other projects, such as the Millennium Centre in Cardiff, and now it is our turn. This was a great fifties icon but it is no longer up to scratch and people's expectations have risen dramatically. The Royal Festival Hall should be the flagship arts centre for the capital."

In an interview with The Observer, Lynch also hit out at politicians, who he blames for delaying the revamp of the South Bank Centre: "This area has been dogged by a lack of political will to make something happen until now," he said. "The distance between politicians and the arts in this country does worry me. I can't understand it. I was irritated too, that a government could launch the Dome project yet not be prepared to spend on this place, which is right opposite them across the river and already exists."

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