The Stage, the weekly bible of British thespians since 1880 (making it the nation's oldest surviving trade publication) will on Thursday celebrate its longevity with a major Berliner-style revamp by David Hillman, designer of the new-look Guardian national daily.

The full colour makeover is intended to boost circulation beyond its present level of 40,000 copies weekly and, says editor Brian Attwood, introduce a "fresh, innovative look with a more open layout".

The relaunch will be supported by ads in the national press, as well as direct mail campaign to over 50,000 individuals in the entertainment industry.

Attwood also revealed that the content mix across both newspaper and The Stage website will be enhanced to ensure the service each provides is complementary.

"More than that, we're developing interactivity between the two, exploiting the unique strengths of both. The plan is to use the web to break news stories as and when they happen, and then use the newspaper to provide greater background and analysis on a weekly basis."

The Stage, an integral part of the lives and careers of generations of British theatre, TV and movie stars - to say nothing of the even larger throng that only serve to stand and wait - will shed its present venerable (even fusty) image to the regret of many.

It has remained in the ownership of the Comerford family throughout its history. The Stage's present managing director Catherine Comerford is the great-granddaughter of the founder.

"The redesign is much more than skin-deep," she enunciated, in tones that could be heard from the back of the gallery.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff