The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has announced that the Company has been successful in an application for repayable finance to the government’s Culture Recovery Fund. The loan of £19.4 million will help to secure the immediate future of the Company amidst the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the theatre industry.
The Company has been unable to stage full productions since the start of the pandemic, resulting in an expected loss of 86% income outside the RSC’s Arts Council England (ACE) grant, a loss of approximately £46 million for the current financial year. Throughout the crisis the RSC has used its reserves and ACE grant to support the Company’s activity, alongside fundraising income from trust funders, donors and partners as well as donations from audiences, Members and Patrons as part of the Keep Your RSC campaign. The RSC also furloughed up to 90% of its staff, benefitting from the Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and is reaching the end of a formal consultation with staff on redundancies and changes to terms and conditions.
Since the temporary closure of the RSC’s theatres in March, the Company has retained a company of 35 freelance actors and stage managers at the heart of its work, continued to support young people and teachers with its far-reaching education activity, celebrated the power of Shakespeare through initiatives such as #shareyourShakespeare, staged free outdoor Summer performances in its Stratford-upon-Avon gardens, talked Shakespeare online with RSC alumni and audiences, and streamed productions for free on iPlayer.
The Company are staging Tales for Winter in December and January, a season of events over six weekends based around storytelling (see more HERE and HERE).
This repayable finance will ensure the Company’s financial stability in the short-term helping the RSC to:
- stage Tales for Winter, the 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
- recommence national touring with the RSC’s partner theatres
- work with commercial partners to invest in new productions that can generate potential income for the Company
- deliver a major piece of work as part of the City of Culture in Coventry 2021
- capture the rest of Shakespeare’s canon through Live From cinema broadcasts which are streamed free to schools
As the Company’s programme of work expands the RSC will be able to engage significant numbers of freelance actors, musicians and creative team members alongside the RSC’s permanent workforce.
Commenting on the announcement Gregory Doran, Artistic Director, and Catherine Mallyon, Executive Director, said,
“We are relieved to receive news that the RSC will receive Culture Recovery Fund repayable finance following our application, and thank the government, through DCMS, for their significant backing. It has been reassuring to see the thousands of companies around the country receiving crucial grants over recent weeks. They are the lifeblood of communities, support the local economy and enable strong health and well-being of our towns and cities.
“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.
“The finance will help the RSC to recover, and in the medium-term reopen our Swan and The Other Place theatres which will remain closed in 2021. All our activity will increase the work available to our essential freelance workforce, which in turn supports the wider arts and culture industry.
“The loan agreement requires us to be financially sustainable by the end of the 2021/22 financial year so that we can move towards repaying the loan, together with the interest that it will accrue. Rather than being a grant, it provides cash flow to help with paying our essential expenditure during the crisis.
“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 would like to thank the RSC community, all those who have sustained us and the wider industry through their donations, memberships, messages, advocacy and patience. Whilst our theatres are closed, we will continue to reach our audiences, to deliver our education work and undertake cutting edge digital development.
“We will re-open our theatres, and we will welcome people back to our buildings for full performances and for meeting together in our cafe’s, shop, restaurant and exhibitions, providing enormous enjoyment, 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.”
For further information contact:
Jane.firstname.lastname@example.org 07966 295032 or email@example.com 07920 244434
The RSC is supported using public funding by Arts Council England.
The RSC is generously supported by RSC America
The RSC Acting Companies are generously supported by The Gatsby Charitable Foundation and The Kovner Foundation
Charles Holloway Season Supporter, The Winter's Tale and The Comedy of Errors
Royal Shakespeare Theatre productions sponsored by Darwin Escapes
The Winter’s Tale is supported by RSC Production Circle members Mark Thompson and Jane Blumberg-Thompson
The work of the RSC Literary Department is generously supported by The Drue and H.J. Heinz II Charitable Trust
The work of the RSC Education Department is generously supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Adobe, The Clore Duffield Foundation, The 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust, GRoW @ Annenberg, Samsung, The Polonsky Foundation, The Schroder Foundation, The Wyfold Charitable Trust, Stratford Town Trust, The Goldsmiths’ Company Charity, The John S Cohen Foundation, Teale Charitable Trust, The Grimmitt Trust, George Fentham Birmingham Charity, The Misses Barrie Charitable Trust and TAK Advisory Limited.
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