Birmingham Repertory Theatre has announced it is beginning redundancy consultations that could affect up to 40% of staff, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite the announcement of the government’s support package and Arts Council England’s emergency funds, which Birmingham Rep said would “partially mitigate” its losses, the theatre said cost-saving measures would be necessary to ensure the organisation’s future survival amid continued uncertainty about when it could reopen.
A spokesman for Birmingham Rep said that 47 roles are at risk of redundancy.
The theatre said it generated 80% of its income from ticket sales, meaning the “ongoing loss of earned income is unsustainable”.
Executive director Rachael Thomas and artistic director Sean Foley said in a joint statement: “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.”
They added: “While 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.”
Trade union BECTU has already estimated that nearly 3,000 jobs are at risk in theatres across the country as a result of the pandemic and organisations’ ongoing closure, with others affected including Birmingham Hippodrome, the National Theatre, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Newcastle Theatre Royal and Wales Millennium Centre.