Almost a third of Canterbury’s Marlowe Theatre face redundancy as a result of the impact of the pandemic on its operations.
According to the theatre’s management, 30 employees are at risk of losing their jobs, about 30% of the venue’s staff base.
Chief executive Deborah Shaw said: “We’re working hard to ensure that the Marlowe will reopen again as soon as it is safe to do so, but as an independent charity without regular funding from Arts Council England, the impact of the pandemic has been immense.”
She added: “We’ve worked hard to protect the livelihoods of all the people that we employ, including a commitment to pay our casual staff members through to the end of the job retention scheme. Our brilliant team is what makes the Marlowe such a hugely successful organisation, which is why it’s particularly painful to have to make this decision.”
The theatre receives no funding and 99% of its income comes directly from tickets and related sales, “revenue streams which disappeared overnight when the venue was forced to temporarily close on March 17”, it said.
Almost all of its team – 97% of the workforce – have been furloughed under the government’s job retention scheme.
The venue has been forced to cancel or rescheduled 288 performances since the start of lockdown.
Jonathan Church, chair of the Marlowe Trust, said, “This pandemic has had a devastating impact on our cultural industries, with theatres the length and breadth of the country being forced to make very similar decisions as ourselves.
“We’re encouraged by the government’s recently announced commitment to support our industry, but even in the event of securing this additional support we will be operating in a very different world for the foreseeable future, making these heartbreaking changes necessary.”
Final decisions on redundancies will not be made until the completion of the consultation, the theatre said.