Staff working for the Pavilion and Connaught theatres in Worthing are facing redundancy, as the trust behind them warns its venues may never reopen without action now.
Worthing Theatres and Museum said it was looking at having to make 19 of its 150 staff redundant, with a further 29 employees facing a temporary reduction in salary and working hours. It said the roles affected spanned all departments, but were largely public facing ones.
The trust operates the Pavilion Theatre, the Connaught Theatre, the Assembly Hall and the Worthing Museum.
In a statement, it said: “While we were thrilled to be awarded funding from the Arts Council England Covid-19 Emergency Fund, and have utilised the government’s job retention scheme, without additional support from the government we have no choice but to make the difficult but necessary decision to restructure and are currently in a process of consultation with employees.”
The trust, which was formed last year to take control of the venues, said that being ordered to close after only five months of operation had been an “incredibly challenging situation”.
“We are doing everything we can to survive and to reopen our venues for the people of Worthing as soon as it is safe to do so. We were incredibly proud of our debut season as a new company with strong sales and an air of excitement about the future. This process has been absolutely heartbreaking to all of us at WTM. If we do not take this action then we fear we may never be able to reopen,” it added.
The trust is the latest to announce redundancy plans, following similar moves in venues such as the Royal Exchange in Manchester and Theatre Royal Plymouth.
The government is under mounting pressure to address the situation, and to announce a support package for the sector.