Major regional theatre announces plans to half its workforce

Stage door sign at Her Majesty's Theatre, in London.
Stage door sign at Her Majesty's Theatre, in London.

A major regional theatre has announced plans to make half of its staff redundant due to the impact of lockdown.

The Theatre Royal in Newcastle previously said all performances until the end of November have been cancelled.

It said it is planning to lose 44 of its 89 full and part-time staff, a move which led the award-winning choreographer Sir Matthew Bourne to express his sorrow on Twitter, saying: “When we do get back to touring, will there be any theatres left to tour to?”

The news followed other theatres around the country announcing similar job losses.

The Newcastle theatre said it received no funding and relied on ticket sales and related income.

It has been closed since March 16 and made the job loss announcement following the Government’s guidance this week that live performances could not yet start again.

Philip Bernays, chief executive of Newcastle Theatre Royal Trust, said: “We have had no performances and no income for three months, we have no funding to support us and we have no guidance about when we will reopen.

“Faced with this uncertainty, we have to do everything we can to secure the future of Newcastle Theatre Royal.

“When we reopen we will be in a changed world and as an organisation we need to be ready for this; we will need to be smaller and more flexible to face the challenges of this different future.

“This has led to the very difficult and heart-breaking decision that we need to significantly reduce the size of our staff team.”

The theatre has asked for donations via its websites, as well as suggesting other ways people can support the venue.

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