Norwich Theatre Royal to axe 113 jobs

Norwich's Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norwich's Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

Norwich Theatre Royal is to cut 113 jobs in a desperate bid to secure its future.

Norwich Theatre Royal chief executive Stephen Crocker has spoken of his heart break at losing staff.

Norwich Theatre Royal chief executive Stephen Crocker has spoken of his heart break at losing staff. Picture: Norwich Theatre - Credit: Archant

The theatre has been closed since March due to lockdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Unlike other entertainment venues like cinemas, theatres have still not been given the green light to reopen.

Clive Lewis, MP for Norwich South, said the loss of jobs was “scandalous”.

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He and five other MPs have written to Westminster demanding financial support for regional theatres.

He said: “The theatre has seen its income reduced to effectively zero overnight and unlike its publicly funded peers, doesn’t have a cushion of existing grant funding.

“Theatres are also likely to be amongst the last sectors to get fully up and running again. Norwich Theatre Royal is one of our city’s anchor institutions and I know the people who run it are in bits at the prospect of having to lay off almost half of their staff.

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“It is scandalous that this government did not heed our calls for large-scale emergency funding. If they’d listened, these jobs could have been saved and our regional theatres would be facing a less precarious future.”

The theatre took a further hit this week after it announced that its 2020 pantomime will be postponed.

Stephen Crocker, chief executive at the Norwich Theatre Royal, has previously warned of the ongoing cost of uncertainty around reopening.

As part of his work with the Norfolk and Suffolk Venues Consortium Mr Crocker established that more than £15m has been lost in the sector as a result of cancelled live performances.

He said he would continue to call on government for a plan on reopening, adding: “We know we will be among the last to open but we need guidance to plan accordingly.

“There is still no end in sight for our sector – so the [£15m] figure could be double this come March.”