Wales Millennium Centre will not reopen again this year, it has confirmed, in a move that will affect up to 250 roles at the organisation.
The Cardiff venue will not open its doors to audiences again until at least January 2021 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but may be forced to stay closed until April next year, prompting losses of £20 million.
The organisation has said about 250 roles will be impacted by its closure this year – 85 permanent staff are at risk of redundancy in addition to losses among casual staff.
It will also affect the roles of its 300 volunteers, as well as the many freelance artists it engages with in its smaller spaces.
A decision will be taken in September as to whether the venue’s reopening will be extended until April next year. If this is the case, and the organisation endures a year-long closure, it has said it will lose around £20 million in revenue.
Managing director Mathew Milsom said: "It is with deep regret that we have made the difficult decision to close Wales Millennium Centre until January 2021. The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating effect on theatres across the UK and, like many others, we have concluded that we won’t be able to put performances on our stages again while social distancing measures are in place.
"Under these circumstances we can’t open the theatre in a way that provides a good audience experience and that is economically viable for the centre and the producers who present their work here."
Touring productions slated for the centre’s 1,850-seat main house that have been cancelled or postponed include The Lion King, The Book of Mormon and The Phantom of the Opera, leaving the venue without work booked regardless of whether it is able to open.
It was also due to stage Welsh National Opera’s autumn season. However, this too has been postponed.
Milsom said he expected significant disruption to the touring shows presented at WMC "for years to come, as productions are being cancelled and no new shows are being created".