More than 60 staff at the Birmingham Hippodrome face redundancy as theatres across the UK remain closed.
Venues across the country were shuttered in March after restrictions on mass gatherings were put in place due to the ongoing health crisis.
It’s led to a “devastating” impact on the finances of theatre companies with dire warnings that 70% of businesses within the industry could go under by the end of 2020.
In a statement issued this week (Monday, June 8, 2020), Birmingham Hippodrome Artistic Director and CEO Fiona Allan said: “The impact of the crisis has been devastating, and it has become a reality that Birmingham Hippodrome will be unable to reopen until social distancing measures are relaxed.
“Almost all our income is received from ticket sales, and without that revenue stream the future of the theatre is in jeopardy.
“We have had to accept that our immediate future has changed, and our financial situation will be in jeopardy for some time to come. When it comes time to reopen Birmingham Hippodrome, it will need to be a different organisation than when we closed. This has led to the very difficult and heart-breaking conclusion that we need to scale back areas of the business and significantly reduce our team size.”
With the venue currently closed until at least November, the Birmingham Hippodrome’s statement continued: “It is with great sadness to confirm that Birmingham Hippodrome has entered a period of redundancy consultations as a direct result of prolonged business closure due to the COVID-19 Global Crisis.
“The changes to the Furlough Scheme announced by The Chancellor last week, whilst fair for the broader economy, are not fit for purpose for the theatre industry. With the closure of the job retention scheme on October 31 and no current guidance of when we will we be able to reopen; we do not have the reserves to sustain prolonged closure.
“Our Birmingham Hippodrome team are loyal, talented and dedicated and I want to thank them for their support and resilience at this time of crisis. I have personally been overwhelmed by the graciousness and kindness they have shown each other and the Hippodrome.
“Those affected have been contacted and no final decision for redundancies we will be made until the consultation process has been completed.”
Picture credit: Flickr/John Turner