York Theatre Royal announces redundancies as funds run low

21 Jul 2020 @ 5.52 pm
| News

York Theatre Royal is to make some staff redundant, as the lengthy prohibition on live performances starts to bite.

It has begun consultations with staff “that will regrettably lead to some redundancies due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic,” the theatre said in a statement today (Tuesday).

Chief executive Tom Bird said he was ‘devastated’ about the job cuts, but they were essential for the theatre’s survival.

The theatre has been unable to open its doors for performances since 17 March and, “despite government allowing the return of socially-distanced performances from 1 August, the theatre’s survival will depend on it reducing costs significantly”.

Altogether 89% of the theatre’s annual income is generated through selling tickets and from audience spend. A recent grant from the Arts Council England Emergency Fund supports the theatre to 30 September.

The government recently announced a £1.57 billion government relief package for cultural institutions, but no further details have been revealed as to how that will be distributed.

Big pay cuts

York Theatre Royal executive director Tom Bird. Photograph: Kirkpatrick Photography

No details about the number of redundancies or the posts under threat have been released.

Tom Bird said: “Since 1744 the people of York have enjoyed, supported and celebrated this theatre.

“It is our job, as custodians of this great community asset, to do whatever we can to ensure its survival for the people of our city. All of the leadership team have taken big pay cuts, and we have maximised our use of government schemes.

“It is devastating to me that in the coming weeks we are going to have to make some very difficult decisions.

“But the theatre can survive this and we will make sure that, when we are able to re-open our doors, York Theatre Royal will come roaring back with an epic programme to help re-energise our community’s creativity.”

He thanked all those who are donating to the theatre. “This is making a real difference.”