Birmingham Rep announces redundancies

Birmingham Rep, the oldest building-based theatre company in the country, is the latest to announce redundancy negotiations due to the Covid-19 closure.

The decision comes despite the announcement this week of the government’s £1.37bn rescue package for the creative sector. “Since 16 March 2020 the Rep has effectively been unable to trade” said the theatre’s statement today. “As the theatre generates 80% of its income from selling tickets and associated revenue streams, the ongoing loss of earned income is unsustainable”.  

It went on to say that the Arts Council’s emergency funds had partially mitigated the theatre’s losses – its grant of £540,000 was announced on Tuesday - but without knowing when it could open its doors again safely and financially viably Birmingham Rep could not continue at full strength. Measures being considered may mean up to 40% of jobs going.

“Our role as custodians of this much-loved theatre, with its historic legacy, is to ensure that it survives the COVID-19 pandemic” said executive director Rachael Thomas and artistic director Sean Foley. “Even after the new measures are taken into account, we believe that survival is threatened if we do not act now. We could still be facing many months of being unable to trade and must therefore take action to mitigate the loss of income by reducing our costs.

“Whilst we are prioritising our work in creative learning, community engagement and our wider civic mission during this time, this re-organisation will protect the DNA of the Rep as a producing theatre. We are incredibly proud of the way our staff have responded to the Covid-19 crisis and want to thank them for their fortitude and spirit at this most difficult of times. We recognise and applaud all those that have volunteered - or are volunteering - in our community to support the NHS or those who are vulnerable in our society.

“We are confident that the Rep will be able to continue to make a key contribution to the civic and cultural renaissance of Birmingham over the next few years. We intend to return - when trading conditions permit - and play our full part in the cultural life of this great city and the nation, including the Company’s 50th anniversary in its current home on Centenary Square in Autumn ’21 and The Commonwealth Games ’22.”

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