Sheffield Theatres has confirmed that it will not fully open until spring next year, with 29% of its staff now at risk of redundancy as a result.
The theatre said that in the absence of information on when it could reopen without social distancing, or any further detail about whether it could benefit from the government’s rescue package, it is unable to deliver its current programme and "will not return to this level of activity again until spring 2021".
"With two of our three theatres closed for at least six months, I am sad to say that we won’t have work for our entire team for a while. And so, it is with an even heavier heart that we have commenced a consultation with our team which will affect 29% of our colleagues," chief executive Dan Bates said.
According to the most recent accounts submitted to the Charity Commission, the theatre has 157 employees in total.
Staff members will also work reduced hours, with others working part time, in order to keep as many people employed as possible, Bates said.
It has delayed its Christmas pantomime, Sleeping Beauty, until next year, warning that social distancing would make festive shows unviable, and that tours that had been booked for this Christmas have also been delayed.
"We know that it will take some time before customer confidence, in being able to come together to the theatre, will return to the level that we need in order to make things work," Bates said.
He added that further restrictions would also be devastating.
"We could not survive another local or national lockdown if we were to reopen and then had to close again. We are certain that we can’t afford to take this risk," he said.
Bates said that despite being closed, the theatre is planning a limited programme of pop-up work between October and April, which will include previously announced plans for an outdoor Shakespeare production.
The Crucible will also host a "pop-up panto", and will be become a pilot venue for the return of elite sporting events, such as the World Snooker Championship.
Bates added: "I want to assure you, we will not be closed, just reduced. Christmas is not cancelled, it’s just different. We have not gone bust, we are being prudent and planning for the future. We are not sitting back, we are fighting for our future. We want to be back as soon as it is safe to do so."