Lloyd Dorfman CBE, Travelex founder and chairman and National Theatre board member has pledged a personal philanthropic gift of £10m to the National’s NT Future redevelopment project. The donation will form the cornerstone of the £70m fundraising campaign.
In recognition, the Cottesloe Theatre will be renamed the Dorfman Theatre when the redevelopment programme is completed.
The aim of NT Future is to enable the National Theatre to 'rise to the challenge of the next 50 years'. It plans to open up Denys Lasdun’s building – to audiences, passers-by and the local community – and to contribute to the regeneration of the South Bank; to transform the National’s facilities for education and participation; and to keep ahead of new technologies and meet the changing needs of theatre artists and audiences.
Travelex and the National Theatre began their partnership in 2003 and was renewed for a further three years from 2010; the latest Travelex production, Nicholas Hytner’s production of Hamlet with Rory Kinnear, is currently playing to critical acclaim and sold out houses.
On making the gift, Lloyd Dorfman said: "I am a huge fan of the energy and innovation the National has achieved in recent years and am delighted to lead from the front in supporting its NT Future redevelopment. 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 which has made world class drama more affordable and accessible for increasingly large audiences.
"Last year the National was responsible for 30% of the play-going across London theatre as a whole; following the introduction of Sunday performances and National Theatre Live, 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."
Hayden Phillips, chairman of the National Theatre, commented: "Lloyd Dorfman’s commitment to the National, in both a professional and personal capacity, has already been outstanding; and I was delighted to invite him to join the NT Board, and put at our disposal his entrepreneurial skills and experience. 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."
Nicholas Hytner, director of the National Theatre, added: "When we were first introduced to Lloyd Dorfman in 2003, it quickly became clear that his far-sighted spirit and vision were a perfect match for Travelex £10 Tickets, which became emblematic of a new kind of National Theatre, offering exciting and ambitious work to everybody. But I never dreamt that his involvement with the National would have such a far-reaching and transformational effect. 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."
Colin Tweedy, chief executive of Arts&Business, which works to promote partnerships between business and the arts, commenting on the donation, says: “At this difficult time of cuts and redundancies in the arts and cultural community it is really encouraging to hear of Lloyd Dorfman’s philanthropic gift to the National Theatre. This confirms the strong link between businesses who support the arts and their business leaders who can then become individual philanthropists in their own right. The National Theatre is one of our cultural jewels. It is brilliantly managed and a truly remarkable artistic powerhouse. All credit to them in securing this support.”