Theatre News

RSC announces it will remain closed until 2021 and begins redundancy consultations

The prestigious company will not be able to present productions this year

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre auditorium
The Royal Shakespeare Theatre auditorium
© RSC, photo by Peter Cook

The RSC has decided it will remain closed until 2021, with the company set to begin redundancy consultations, it has been announced.

Earlier this year artistic director Gregory Doran expressed hopes that the venue may be able to reopen in the autumn, but the lack of guidance from the government has stymied plans for any indoor work being put on.

Artistic director Gregory Doran said: "Despite our wish to re-open our theatres by the end of the year, it is now clear that the ongoing pandemic and the continued need for social distancing mean that we will not be able to stage full RSC productions in our theatres before 2021. Despite our theatres being temporarily closed, our acting company continue to work on events and activity, including our programme of outdoor Shakespeare in Stratford. We will look at what other events, and online activity we can continue to provide for our audiences in the autumn and winter. Our work in partnership with teachers and schools to support children and young people as they return to school is ongoing, with communities across the country and alongside our regional theatre partners. We very much hope that the government review of social distancing measures in November will bring positive news for the industry, and provide a timeline for when we can welcome our audiences back into our theatres again.

"It is with great sadness that we have now reached the stage where a formal consultation process with employees must take place to safeguard the long-term future of the Company. We had hoped that things would have become more positive by now, but this has not been the case. With the end of the CJRS in sight, today we gave advance notice to our trade union partners and our employees of a formal consultation process, which will begin in October. We also confirmed that, as there will be no work available, from 1st November we will be unable to pay casual worker colleagues and those employed on variable hours contracts. Variable hours colleagues will remain employed, and casual workers will stay on our books, for when work opportunities return in the future.

"Every one of our colleagues makes the RSC the Company that it is, and every one contributes to its success. They show exceptional talent, professionalism, skill, commitment and care at all times and we thank them for their ongoing support."

The venue will continue to present outdoor and online work where possible – after commencing free shows in nearby gardens this month.