The majority of UK theatres 'face permanent shutdown', MPs have been told.
The dire warning comes as theatres across the country continue to remain closed after first shuttering in March.
This week evidence was given to a committee of MPs investigating the impact of the ongoing health crisis son the creative industry.
Julian Bird, chief executive of UK Theatre and Society of London Theatre, said (via The Guardian): “There are just under 1,100 theatre buildings in the UK, around the same as Asda and Morrisons stores combined.
“Just over 50% are charities or trusts. They are in every town and village area, at the heart of communities.
“Our latest survey told us 70% of theatres or production companies will run out of cash, go out of business, by the end of this year."
He called on MPs to provide support, making reference to the recent news that the Birmingham Hippodrome is planning to make half of its staff redundant.
Bird said: "Unless there is a change in some of the government support you will see more and more theatres like Birmingham Hippodrome make difficult decisions about their workforce in order to preserve themselves.”
Pleas were also made for more support for freelancers in the industry with many not qualifying for current income support schemes.
Horace Trubridge, the general secretary of the Musicians’ Union said: “Members have had no income whatsoever since the middle of March.
“We know many of our members, up to maybe more than 20%, think they won’t be able to stay in the profession if this goes on for too long.”