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Southwark gives 500,000 to Old Vic theatre’s 20 million appeal

Southwark Council has agreed to give the Lambeth-based Old Vic theatre £500,000 for its endowment fund.

The Old Vic is seeking to raise a total of 20 million. If it can raise 15 million by July this year, Arts Council England will provide the final 5 million.

The Waterloo theatre – situated just a few yards from the borough boundary between Lambeth and Southwark – will sign a memorandum of understanding with Southwark Council to ensure that five Southwark schools each year benefit from The Old Vic's education work in perpetuity.

"When the Southwark Youth Fund was created in 2011 one of its clear objectives was to provide young people in our borough with opportunities to enhance their CV to give them unique experiences which marked them out from their peers and which would give them some small advantage in the competitive employment and higher education market in London," said council leader Peter John.

"By making a contribution to The Old Vic's endowment trust we will be achieving just that making a link with one of the world's leading theatres and offering the opportunity to Southwark schoolchildren to benefit from the experience of working in and understanding business and the theatre.

"This is an incredible opportunity for Southwark and Southwark's schools which also helps to secure the next phase of The Old Vic's life in SE1.

"As a council we will continue to look for future opportunities for the Youth Fund to enhance the potential of children and young people, and to demonstrate that we truly believe in their capacity to be the beneficiaries of all that our borough and London has to offer."

In his introduction to the fundraising brochure, The Old Vic's outgoing artistic director Kevin Spacey wrote: "Stage Business, an exciting new education project, has the potential to have a greater, and more wide-ranging, impact than anything we've ever produced.

"The programme will reach up to 10,400 young people across the UK over two years, equipping them with practical skills and improving their confidence as they enter the competitive jobs market whether that be in the theatre industry or elsewhere.

"The Old Vic will celebrate its bicentenary in 2018, further establishing our credentials as a London landmark that should be looked after for future generations to enjoy. We will ensure that future by restoring and extending the building, and creating an endowment fund to support both our work on stage and Old Vic New Voices.

"I'm particularly excited that we're linking gifts to Stage Business with our endowment fund. By doing so, we'll not only deliver a project addressing the immediate problem of youth unemployment, but also guarantee the sustainability of our education programme for future generations."

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