Norwich Theatre Group Facing Huge Job Losses

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Norwich Theatre Group Facing Huge Job Losses

A regional theatre group has warned more than three-quarters of its workers face losing their jobs.

Norwich Theatre told its 217 staff it had been “forced” to restructure following “huge financial losses”.

On Tuesday Norwich Theatre Royal cancelled its Christmas pantomime, blaming the prolonged coronavirus lockdown.

Chief executive Stephen Crocker, said he was “shocked and angry” by the lack of government help for the arts.

The group which runs Norwich Theatre Royal, the Playhouse and Stage Two said a formal process of consultation with all staff would now begin.

‘No longer sustainable’

Some 113 employees were told their roles were at risk of redundancy, with a further 59 workers on zero-hours contracts informed they would receive no further work.

All large-scale shows previously planned to tour at Theatre Royal for the August-December 2020 period had been postponed, the company said.

Norwich Theatre RoyalImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionNorwich Theatre, which received government coronavirus grants, said it needed further financial support

Michael Newey, chairman of the trustees of Norwich Theatre, said the coronavirus lockdown “saw us immediately lose 95% of our income and this scale of ongoing financial loss is no longer sustainable”.

‘Simply heartbroken’

“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 begin a major restructuring project to reduce our costs.”

Chief executive Stephen Crocker, who described staff as “the lifeblood of our organisation”, said: “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.

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“I am simply heartbroken.”

The government said it was working with the industry to get it fully back up and running as soon as possible and it was considering the best way forward.

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But the actors’ union Equity said that without investment to save jobs and venues the guidance would be meaningless.

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis was among a handful of parliamentarians asking the government to offer more concrete support:

“Our venues are in jeopardy now because the government won’t acknowledge their value and importance to our regional cities,” he said in a joint letter to Caroline Dinenage MP, minister for digital and culture in the department for digital, culture, media and sport.

Norwich Theatre Group Facing Huge Job Losses

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