The Royal Shakespeare Company has said it hopes to reopen its main theatre in the autumn with shows rescheduled from earlier in the year, as it pushes its planned winter season until 2021.
In line with ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, the RSC has postponed all events and planned performances for the remainder of its summer season, meaning it will stay closed until October at the earliest. It has also postponed the productions planned for the autumn/winter season and cancelled its annual residency at London’s Barbican.
However, the company said it is “actively exploring the possibility” of reopening the Royal Shakespeare Theatre this autumn and staging rescheduled performances of The Winter’s Tale and The Comedy of Errors, which were due to open on the main stage this spring.
A statement said its ability to open again would be “dependent on government advice on social distancing and whether it is financially viable for the company to open its theatres and perform to audiences”.
Artistic director Gregory Doran and executive director Catherine Mallyon said in a joint statement that reopening would only occur “when it is safe and when social distancing restrictions are lifted”, which would make reopening financially viable.
“These are the most difficult times for all theatres and arts venues, whether big or small. It is incredibly sad to see our theatres and those of our partner theatres around the country closed at this time. We continue to do everything we can to bring them back to life as soon as possible, so we can welcome back our audiences to share the experience of live theatre with them,” the statement said.
A representative from the company also said a dedicated group is working on the practical considerations of how the building can reopen when the situation allows, but stressed no date is yet in place.
In order to facilitate the rescheduled productions this autumn, the company has confirmed that planned shows for the latter part of the year, including The Wars of the Roses Parts 1 and 2, and new family musical The Magician’s Elephant, will be postponed until 2021, while its annual residency at Barbican has been cancelled for 2020.
In their statement, Doran and Mallyon reiterated the theatre’s appeal for donations in order to give the RSC “the best possible chance of reopening”.
“We have had to terminate contracts and furlough 90% of employees, and we continue to explore every possibility to secure income from government schemes,” the statement said, adding: “To secure the future of the RSC for everyone we need financial support until we can start earning our own income again as our reserves will not last indefinitely.”
Doran and Mallyon added: “The hunger for the arts during the crisis is there for all to see. Theatre and the arts give strength to people in difficult times, they lift the spirits and bring a sense of community, which is desperately needed right now. We are determined to be back with live performances, and we are looking forward to when that time comes.”