Government warned over coronavirus threat to Shakespeare’s Globe

General view of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in Southwark, London.
General view of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in Southwark, London.

Shakespeare’s Globe theatre is facing the risk of insolvency and closure because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Government has been warned.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee has called for more support to be given to institutions and individuals in the creative industries.

Conservative MP Julian Knight, who chairs the committee, said in a letter to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden that it would be a “tragedy” if the London theatre were to close.

“Shakespeare’s Globe is a world-renowned institution and not only part of our national identity, but a leading example of the major contribution the arts make to our economy,” he said.

“For this national treasure to succumb to Covid-19 would be a tragedy.”

The theatre has warned it faces the the “biggest threat to its future since opening in 1997” and the risk of closure and insolvency, the DCMS Committee said in a statement.

He added that other theatres and venues are facing a “struggle for survival and an uncertain future” and that lifting the lockdown will not “automatically” mean things return to normal for the creative industries.

“The Government must step up now and find more funding to shore up our cultural landscape and safeguard our rich past, while giving hope to those whose livelihoods depend upon it,” he said.

Arts organisations are entitled to Government support such as the furlough scheme and loans.

A government spokeswoman said: “We are providing unprecedented support for the cultural sector, including the job retention scheme, a years’ business rates holiday, and the Arts Council’s £160 million emergency response package.

“We’re now working closely with the industry to plan for the future and, as soon as it is safe to do so we will be encouraging everyone to get out and experience the UK’s fantastic theatrical and cultural offerings again.”

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