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Pandemic forces Birmingham Rep to make 40% of staff redundant

Bosses say that, with great sadness, Birmingham Repertory Theatre has entered a period of redundancy consultations.

Since 16 March 2020, the theatre, which generates 80% of its income from selling tickets and associated revenue streams, Has been unable to trade.

Despite the very welcome news earlier this week of the Government’s support package for the cultural sector, and Arts Council England’s emergency funds that partially mitigate current losses, like so many venues The REP still doesn’t know when they will be able to re-open their doors and welcome audiences back to enjoy live performances 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, 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 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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