More than half of all small charity-run theatres face closure within the next three months due to Covid-19, the Theatres Trust has warned, as the advocacy body announces measures to help venues in need.
Additional support measures announced include the Theatres Trust Skills Bank, which will match theatres with experts offering free advice on reopening, including information on hygiene, social distancing and general building management.
The advisory body has also repurposed its small grants programme to support theatres to cover the costs of reopening after several months closure and taken on an additional adviser to help venues with business planning, fundraising and building maintenance.
Data from the Charities Commission analysed by the Theatres Trust reveals that 57% of small charity-run theatres of 200 seats or less – totalling 136 venues – could go into administration in the next three months.
Of the charity-run venues surveyed, 38% have only one month’s reserves and 19% have three months’ reserves.
According to the trust, about 40% of the UK’s theatres are small, local venues and more than half of these – about 240 – are run by small charities. These include Settle Victoria Hall in North Yorkshire and Sheringham Little Theatre in North Norfolk.
Theatres Trust director Jon Morgan said: “These are tough times for the theatre sector and we are talking to the government about the additional support theatres need, but we hope that with these resources we can help more theatres to survive the current crisis.
“We have already seen some operators go into administration and unfortunately others are likely to follow, but the Theatres Trust has a strong track record of supporting theatres to be saved and returned to cultural use and is working to ensure that no theatres are permanently lost due to Covid-19.”