Around 160 people at risk of redundancy at the Royal Shakespeare Company

The Royal Shakespeare Company has announced plans to make around 160 staff redundant as the arts and heritage charity sector continues to tackle income losses from the Covid-19 health crisis.

The charity has announced that it will focus its remaining activity around the Royal Shakespeare Theatre over the coming year and keep its Swan Theatre and The Other Place closed until 2022. All three venues are in Stratford-upon-Avon.

A consultation has now launched around redundancy plans with 158 people in roles at risk. The charity is looking to reduce the number of compulsory redundancies to below 90 (17% of the workforce) through redeployment into existing and new roles and voluntary redundancy.

This consultation is expected to end in early December.

This winter the charity will continue its work around education, digital and streaming and small scale socially distanced performances. These will be streamed into homes.

“These are incredibly difficult times for everyone, and for the theatre community they are especially tough,” said RSC executive director Catherine Mallyon.

“Our live performance sector is experiencing one of the highest levels of loss of work anywhere: the personal impact of this is often devastating; the loss of skilled and talented people permanently from our sector is a very real worry for the future; and the impact on the nation’s economy immense.

“We are today taking tough decisions to cut costs and make sure we can reopen with confidence. We remain completely committed to a vibrant future for live theatre and to ensuring that right across the country Shakespeare and theatre can be relevant to and enjoyed by all the communities we serve.”

Arts charities have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, due to social distancing measures curtailing face-to-face performances.

Research suggests that charities working in arts and culture had already seen a total of 3,000 redundancies by August.

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