The Royal Theatrical Support Trust (RTST) was founded in 1967 as The Royal Shakespeare Theatre Trust by Kenneth Cork, Peter Hall and Geoffrey Cass primarily (but not solely) to fundraise for the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), and many millions of pounds were raised and expended over subsequent years in furtherance of the trust’s charitable objects. The objects were focused on “fostering and promoting the public knowledge and appreciation of the plays of Shakespeare and other dramatic works of distinction and new plays and new techniques in the theatre.” The subsequent establishment of the RSC’s own excellent and comprehensive funding structure over time rendered the concentration of the trust’s focus on the RSC less relevant.

As the RSC’s own fundraising structure developed, the charity progressively handed over to the RSC the components of its fundraising activities that related to the RSC. The existence of two similar-sounding bodies, both raising funds for the RSC, could have been a source of confusion to donors, particularly during the crucial fundraising for the RSC’s redevelopment of its theatres in Stratford-upon-Avon. Therefore, in 2012, the charity:

  • changed its name, with the permission of HM The Queen, to The Royal Theatrical Support Trust; and
  • significantly broadened its charitable objects, with the consent of the Charity Commission, in order to give the RTST its current broader focus on supporting the theatre – particularly at the grass-roots level – while preserving as one of its objects the fostering and promotion of the works of major internationally renowned dramatists, including Shakespeare.

The change of name and modification of the charity’s objects had the full support and approval of the RSC.

In 2016, the RTST launched its prestigious annual Director Award scheme to fulfil the twin objectives of supporting British regional producing theatres and up-and-coming directors.

In October 2017, the charity re-named its Director Award “the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award” in honour of Sir Peter Hall who died in September of that year, 50 years after co-founding the charity.

For information on this Award, please visit our page.