17/08/2016 08:08 HRS

Theatres Trust is pleased to announce a new scheme to enhance the theatregoing experience of female audience members by improving their restroom facilities. The scheme’s benefactors, Susan and Simon Ruddick, hope that this initiative will bring direct relief to a few, while at the same time indirectly raising the profile of an issue that is of recurring concern to many.

Susan and Simon Ruddick, Chairman of Albourne Partners, have generously given the Trust £125,000 to improve facilities in up to 10 theatres UK-wide. Theatres will be invited to apply for up to £15,000 each to improve toilets for women (including unisex and gender neutral facilities) and the Trust will decide on the winners after inspecting the proposed toilets to find out which theatres are most in need of the grant. When and how soon this award is spent is flexible, depending on individual circumstances.
British Standard 6465-1:2006 specifies that there should be a level of toilet provision which would mean (for example) that a 500-seat auditorium had 8 Ladies’ toilets. Even though this seems inadequate for audiences whose time for use is strictly limited, there are many theatres which do not even meet this standard. The anxiety caused by long queues, with unappealing conditions often awaiting even the lucky few, meaningfully diminishes the joy of theatre for about half the audience. Selected schemes will, at the very least, need to meet British Standard 6465 upon completion.
Grants will be awarded via a Theatres Trust application process used for small capital building projects. The closing date for applications is 26 October 2016 at noon and those applications will be decided in December 2016 after evaluations have taken place.Further details on how to apply for the Spend a Penny Scheme can be found at: letter has gone out to the whole list of theatrical Dames to enlist their support of this imaginative project.
Susan and Simon Ruddick were recently involved in raising over £155,000 for the Duchenne Research Fund by way of a one-night show at London’s Dominion Theatre entitled The Importance of Being Lewis, having previously raised money for Teenage Cancer Trust with a show called At Home with Mayor Lewis and also by way of an event called Hedgestock in 2006, which featured a performance by The Who. Simon Ruddick won the International Leadership Award from the American Red Cross in 2012. He became a Trustee of Theatres Trust on 1 April, 2014. Needless to add, he and his wife are keen theatregoers: they just aspire to enjoying the intermission equally.
For further information and possible interviews:
Anne Mayer,, 020 3659 8482 or 07764 192842
Kate Carmichael, Resources Adviser, Theatres Trust, 020 7836 8591
Assistance from the


The essential starting point for guidance on the provision of facilities may be found in the FREE extract:

Technical Standards for Places of Entertainment: G1 Sanitary Accommodation