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Southbank Centre warns of 'crippling financial pressure' and expects to be closed until April 2021

The central London venue has also asked for further Government support

The Southbank Centre
© Victor Frankowski

The Southbank Centre has warned that it may have to close until next April unless it receives further financial support.

Without further funding, the venue warned, it may need to make some staff redundant, while buildings may need to be mothballed. It has also stated that it expects "hardly any" artistic activity throughout the 2020/21 season, as this would increase its losses. As a result, it will be "unlikely to be able to re-open until April 2021", as social distancing and any restrictions on capacity would mean losing money by staging productions.

The venue, located in the heart of London, presents over 3,500 events a year with 40 per cent of them being free. According to the complex, it welcomes enough visitors to fill Wembley Stadium 50 times over.

The Centre has called on the Government to extend the furlough scheme for the cultural sector beyond October, support the arts sector through large-scale intervention and help self-employed artists who do not qualify for existing schemes.

Elaine Bedell, chief executive, said: "With eight orchestras, the National Poetry Library, and Arts Council Collection all calling us home, and playing host to over 4.45 million visitors each year, we're doing all we can to safeguard the Southbank Centre we currently know and love for the years ahead. However, this crisis has hit hard, and we join a number of other organisations and venues in sounding the alarm about the long-term health of UK arts and culture."

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