We’ve been awarded £19.4 million in repayable finance to help secure the immediate future of the company amidst the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our industry.
We’re relieved to hear the news that our loan application to the government's Culture Recovery Fund has been successful. We haven’t been able to stage full productions since the start of the pandemic and are expecting a loss of approximately £46 million for this financial year.
We used our reserves and Arts Council England grant to support our activity during the crisis including work with young people, outdoor summer performances and online streaming. We also used fundraising income from trust funders, donors and partners as well as donations from audiences, Members and Patrons. And we furloughed 90% of our staff to benefit from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Our Artistic Director Gregory Doran and Executive Director Catherine Mallyon thanked the government for their significant backing.
They added: “It continues to be a challenging time for theatres big and small, and for all those in the arts and culture sector. We are very grateful for the support we have received from our audiences, donors and partners, but without any regular income from our work on stage, and currently no confirmed date for the full re-opening of the theatres, we must plan for a different future."
This repayable finance will ensure our financial stability in the short term helping us to:
- Stage Tales for Winter, our current programme of live streamed performances
- Open full productions in Stratford-upon-Avon and London in Spring 2021
- Continue essential education work in schools and communities in collaboration with 11 regional theatre partners across the country supporting hundreds of thousands of young people
- Return to national touring with our partner theatres
- Work with commercial partners to invest in new productions that can generate potential income
- Deliver a major project as part of the City of Culture in Coventry 2021
- Capture the rest of Shakespeare’s canon through Live From cinema broadcasts, streamed free to schools
The money provides cash flow to help with paying our essential expenditure during the crisis, but we will need to be financially sustainable by the end of the 2021/22 financial year so that we can begin repaying the loan and its interest.
Gregory and Catherine continued: “Even when we reopen fully, it will take time to return to pre-pandemic income levels. We will need to continue to make savings, as well as rebuild income, to cover the loan repayments, which will not be completed until 2040. This sadly means that we must complete our formal consultation with staff on proposed redundancies and changes to our terms and conditions. Combined with the loss of work and lack of income support for many of our freelance colleagues, this is a source of profound regret.
“We will re-open our theatres, and we will welcome people back to our buildings for full performances and for meeting together in our cafes, shop, restaurant and exhibitions, providing enormous enjoyment and supporting the regrowth of our local and national economy and representing the UK on the world stage. We can’t wait for that time to come.”