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National Theatre may cut 30% of its staff due to COVID-19

The National Theatre (NT) has warned a number of staff will be made redundant, unless it receives additional financial support from the government.

It is believed the cuts could amount to 30% of the theatre’s staff being made redundant.

The National Theatre confirmed that without more financial aid there would be redundancies, because it had lost more than 75% of its income due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The NT’s joint chief executives, Lisa Burger and Rufus Norris, said:

"Over half our annual expenditure is on people, and while in the short term we have used our limited cash reserves and support from the UK government’s coronavirus job retention scheme [CJRS], a significant financial gap remains. We are calling for additional urgent government support for the theatre sector, including the NT, to mitigate the loss of vital talent and infrastructure."

In relation to redundancies within the theatre industry, it has been described as “the brink of total collapse” and “obliteration” by a leading West End producer.

In an article for the Daily Telegraph, Sonia Friedman said that without an “urgent government rescue package” 70% of British performing arts companies would be out of business before the end of 2020.

"All the performing arts – theatre, dance, opera, comedy, theatre in education, Christmas pantomime, community shows – are facing the real possibility of complete obliteration. I know it sounds melodramatic. It beggars belief – but it is a statement of fact," said the producer, whose hits include The Book of Mormon and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

The NT’s warning is the latest coronavirus-related threat to theatre. Alongside the Shakespeare’s Globe in London which has argued they would not survive without additional support.

Similarly, the Old Vic’s artistic director, Matthew Warchus, said his theatre was in a "seriously perilous" financial situation because of the pandemic.

Source: The Guardian

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