Nearly three quarters of theatres undergoing capital projects say they will no longer be able to secure funding to complete the works due to Covid-19, research by the Theatres Trust has revealed.
The national advisory body for theatres identified 106 capital projects across England that are either in the advanced stages of planning or have begun building works.
Of these, 36 theatres responded to a survey from the Theatres Trust, all of which reported a “severe impact” on their capital project due to Covid-19 and the lockdown, with the negative financial impact totalling £66 million. The Theatre Trust anticipates this to be half of the true amount across the country.
For its research, the trust also surveyed theatre architects and consultants and analysed planning applications.
Key findings from the research include:
Case studies cited by the Theatres Trust include Polka Theatre in London, which had already began building works and had to close the site for six weeks due to Covid-19.
This has delayed the reopening of the theatre to Spring 2021, instead of November, leaving an estimated deficit of £500,000 due to the loss of revenue from a Christmas season.
Contact Theatre in Manchester was three weeks away from completing a £6.7 million capital redevelopment when it was delayed due to Covid-19. This resulted in a postponed opening date and forced the organisation to draw heavily on its reserves.
Theatres Trust director Jon Morgan said: “We welcome the allocation of £120 million for capital projects as part of the recently announced government support package, but our research demonstrates that further support for theatre capital projects will be needed in the near future if much needed repairs and improvements to our theatres are not to be further delayed or cancelled all together.”