Theatre News

Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum Theatre to 'enter a period of hibernation'

The venue has postponed all shows in 2020

The Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh
The Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh
© Margaret Ferguson Burns / CC BY-SA (

The Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh has announced it will enter "a period of hibernation as a building based producing theatre".

Having been closed since lockdown measures began on 16 March 2020, the venue has lost over £700,000 worth of ticket and trading income.

In a statement the Lyceum said that: "With government indications that social distancing measures will be in place at least until the end of the year, the Lyceum is now facing an extended period with no opportunity to earn income from ticket sales, bars, programmes or merchandise likely until at least spring 2021." It has cancelled all productions for the remainder of the year.

The theatre has told all staff that there is a risk of redundancy, especially with the furlough scheme winding down (it will be in place until October, although with changes from August) and that "the Lyceum must now act to carefully manage limited resources in order to sustain itself through the pandemic and ensure that the future of the Lyceum is secured." It will be speaking to all staff with all positions under review, as "significant cost savings are required".

The Lyceum has stated that money from funders, Creative Scotland and City of Edinburgh
Council have been instrumental in allowing the theatre to survive the ongoing pandemic. However, according to their latest statement "without significant intervention, the Lyceum will run out of funds in November 2020".

Artistic director David Greig said: "This is an unprecedented, and devastating moment for our industry, and we are already seeing theatres in dire straits due to the pandemic. The Nuffield, Southampton, where we recently toured our production of Pride and Prejudice (Sort of) has already gone into administration with the loss of all jobs leaving its future existence uncertain. I fear it will not be the last theatre British theatre to fall victim to the virus in this way with others including the Globe, Royal and Derngate and National Theatre issuing further warnings this week.

"To protect the Lyceum from such closure we have to act now to preserve the Theatre Company and our ability to create theatre in Edinburgh in the future. Sadly, to do this we have to reduce the wage costs which make up the vast majority of our expenditure. This will mean losing friends from our theatre family – people I am in awe of, who make the magic happen on our stage and who are much loved and valued. Very sadly, with our principal income stream removed during this epidemic, the stark choice we face is between a redundancy process now to reduce our expenditure, or total closure before Christmas – an alternative that would leave The Lyceum shut long after the pandemic has passed."

"Entering this period of hibernation will allow us to conserve the limited resource we have through the dark winter of Covid-19 and emerge, hopefully in the spring, with enough capacity to make theatre again with the brilliant theatre-makers of Scotland for the people of Edinburgh."

The theatre is hoping to re-open in time for its spring 2021 season, depending on government guidance.