Birmingham Repertory Theatre is now a theatre at risk

Birmingham Repertory Theatre is entering a period of redundancy consultations as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic.

Birmingham Repertory Theatre
Exterior of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre

Whilst the government’s announcement about an aid package for the arts is a welcome start in saving arts and culture in the UK, the funds won’t come close to helping the many worthy organisations across the UK who are desperately in need of help. The Birmingham Repertory Theatre is the latest venue which has announced they have started redundancy consultations.

The theatre has issued this statement:-

Since 16 March 2020, The REP has effectively been unable to trade. As the theatre generates 80% of its income from selling tickets and associated revenue streams, the ongoing loss of earned income is unsustainable.

Despite the very welcome news earlier this week of the Government’s support package for the cultural sector, and Arts Council England’s emergency funds that partially mitigate our current losses, the reality for The REP is that we simply do not know when we will be able to re-open our doors and welcome audiences back into our building to enjoy live theatre again in a way that is safe for the public and financially viable for the theatre.

Therefore, in order to ensure the survival of The REP during this time of great uncertainty, cost-saving measures including redundancy proposals are being considered which may impact up to 40% of roles.

Birmingham Repertory Theatre is the oldest building-based theatre company in the UK and the Second City’s only producing theatre.

Executive Director Rachael Thomas, and Artistic Director Sean Foley, commented “Our role as custodians of this much-loved theatre, with its historic legacy, is to ensure that it survives the COVID-19 pandemic. Even after the new measures are taken into account, we believe that survival is threatened if we do not act now. We could still be facing many months of being unable to trade and must, therefore, take action to mitigate the loss of income by reducing our costs.

“Whilst we are prioritising our work in creative learning, community engagement, and our wider civic mission during this time, this re-organisation will protect the DNA of The REP as a producing theatre.

“We are incredibly proud of the way our staff have responded to the COVID-19 crisis and want to thank them for their fortitude and spirit at this most difficult of times. We recognise and applaud all those that have volunteered – or are volunteering – in our community to support the NHS or those who are vulnerable in our society.

“We are confident that The REP will be able to continue to make a key contribution to the civic and cultural renaissance of Birmingham over the next few years. We intend to return – when trading conditions permit – and play our full part in the cultural life of this great city and the nation, including the Company’s 50th anniversary in its current home on Centenary Square in Autumn ’21 and The Commonwealth Games ’22.”

If you are able to assist with a donation to the Birmingham Repertory Theatre please visit their site. We need to protect this and other great British Theatres.


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