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Norwich Theatre confirms over half of staff at risk of redundancy

Photo credit: Norwich Theatre Royal

Norwich Theatre has announced a major restructure of its staff after incurring huge financial losses during the coronavirus pandemic.

They say of the 217 staff working across the Theatre Royal, Playhouse and Stage Two, 113 (53%) were informed at a meeting on Wednesday 1st July that their roles are at risk of redundancy.

A further 59 employees on irregular zero hours contracts were given confirmation that they will no longer receive any work.

Norwich Theatre say a formal consultation period with all staff will now begin.

They added that a large proportion of staff are employed to directly support the presentation of major productions at the Theatre Royal and due to the devastating impact of Covid-19 all large-scale shows previously planned to tour to Theatre Royal for August-December 2020 period have now been postponed.

This comes after the Theatre recently announced that this year's pantomime has been pushed back a year to 2021.

Michael Newey, who's Chair of the Trustees of Norwich Theatre, said: "As Trustees we are custodians of Norwich Theatre and it is our duty to ensure that we protect our charitable mission and our ability to carry out that mission into the future.

"The coronavirus lockdown saw us immediately lose 95% of our income and this scale of ongoing financial loss is no longer sustainable.

"With no large-scale productions able to go ahead until next year, no clear date for when we will be able to operate at full scale again and no public funding intervention forthcoming, we have been forced to mandate the Chief Executive to begin a major restructuring of our staff and every trustee wishes that had a different way forward.

"They will all be fully supported by the Chief Executive and his team during this difficult time as the consulation process begins.

"Without Government support, we have been left with no other option if we are to make a guarantee to our audiences that we will survive this crisis and welcome them back to our buildings next year."

Stephen Crocker, who's the Chief Executive of Norwich Theatre, said: "Our staff are the lifeblood of our organisation and my team and I have done all we can to support and protect them over these past few months and will continue to do so as we explore all options through this consultation process.

"On their behalf I remain shocked and angry that the government is standing idle as an industry that has delivered so much to this country and is so vital to its recovery is being allowed to fade into dust.

"I will continue to fight hard for our staff, our theatres and our whole industry but this is an incredibly dark day for us and for arts and culture in Norwich, Norfolk and the East of England.

"I am simply heartbroken".

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