Tuesday, July 14, 2020

News: Closing Rotherham Civic Theatre "not even being considered"


Rotherham Theatres has lost an estimated £500,000 in income so far due to the coronavirus outbreak but Rotherham Council has not considered closing the 60 year old town centre venue.

Income from theatres ceased almost immediately and a number of privately run venues across the country have had to close.

A £1.57 billion support package was announced earlier this month that will enable organisations across a range of sectors, including the performing arts and theatres, heritage, historic palaces, museums, galleries, live music and independent cinema, to access emergency grants and loans.

Rotherham Council's Regeneration and Environment Directorate has seen a £5.5m hit relating to lost income from things like theatres, country parks, markets and parking. Culture Sport and Tourism has been severely impacted by the temporary closure of facilities. A full year loss of £1m is being forecast in respect of leisure facilities with the loss of income from Green Spaces expected to be £1.4m and from Theatres, £0.5m.

A Council cabinet paper, said: "Temporary closures of parks and all other leisure sites for all of spring and into the summer has prevented any trading activities taking place. Forecasts assume an extended period of much lower income resulting in a forecast pressure of £0.8m but the final figure will be entirely dependent upon the speed and extent of the trading recovery when facilities reopen. An additional £0.5m pressure within Theatres is expected after the site closed."

You can donate to support the theatre here.

Earlier this month, operators announced that Sheffield City Hall and Sheffield FlyDSA Arena are being mothballed and that all staff are being put at risk of redundancy.

In response to the news, Cllr. Chris Read, leader of Rotherham Council, said on social media: "I'm as confident as I can be at this point that the civic won't close as a result of covid-19. We're not even considering that. (If in the end we run out of money then all bets are off, but we're not there yet!)"

Government support includes a £1.15 billion pot for cultural organisations in England delivered through a mix of grants and loans.

Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer said: "Our world-renowned galleries, museums, heritage sites, music venues and independent cinemas are not only critical to keeping our economy thriving, employing more than 700,000 people, they're the lifeblood of British culture.

"That's why we're giving them the vital cash they need to safeguard their survival, helping to protect jobs and ensuring that they can continue to provide the sights and sounds that Britain is famous for."

A five stage phased return to professional performing arts is in place and we are at the stage where performing arts can now take place outdoors.

Images: RMBC


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