Forty per cent of jobs at risk at Birmingham Rep Theatre

Up to 40 per cent of staff at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre could lose their jobs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

It is thought that up to 47 jobs could be at risk at the venue, which has been closed since March.

A statement said: “It is with great sadness that, as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Birmingham Repertory Theatre  has  entered  a period of redundancy consultations.

“Since 16 March 2020, The REP has effectively been unable to trade. As the theatre generates 80% of its income from selling tickets and associated revenue streams, the ongoing loss of earned income is unsustainable.”

The theatre said it was “very welcome news” last week of the Government’s support package for the cultural sector, and Arts Council England’s emergency funds that partially mitigate its current losses.

However, it added: “The reality for The REP is that we simply do not know when we will be able to re-open our doors and welcome audiences back into our building to enjoy live theatre again in a way that is safe for the public and financially viable for the theatre.

“Therefore, in order to ensure the survival of The REP during this time of great uncertainty, cost saving measures including redundancy proposals are being considered which may impact up to 40% of roles.”

Birmingham Repertory Theatre  is the oldest building-based theatre company in the UK and the Second City’s only producing theatre.

Executive director Rachael Thomas and artistic director Sean Foley said: “Our role as custodians of this much-loved theatre, with its historic legacy, is to ensure that it survives the COVID-19 pandemic.  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 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.”