The Lichfield Garrick has confirmed it will make redundancies to help tackle the impact of the coronavirus crisis.
The curtains have remained down at the city centre theatre since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March.
But with continued uncertainty about when major touring productions will return, the Garrick says its autumn schedule has been scrapped with shows due to run in September and October no longer going ahead.
The theatre’s chief executive Karen Foster confirmed redundancy and short term working – impacting 46% of permanent staff at the venue – were being introduced as part of a series of cost saving measures.
“I am incredibly proud of our team of dedicated, committed, talented individuals, and so it is with immense sadness that, in order to safeguard the future of the theatre, I have no alternative but to make very difficult and painful decisions regarding their future.
“With the loss of two more months of shows, and the prospect of a still uncertain future beyond this, I hope that reducing the team at this point will enable us to persevere through this terrible period and emerge with a skilled workforce ready to expand back to pre-covid activities.
“As a small, independent charity, the Lichfield Garrick needs the support of its communities more than ever before to help us through this period of enforced hibernation and to help retain the skilled and experienced staff for the good of all our local audiences.
“To my wonderful team, thank you for being so kind and supportive in the face of the cuts which are sweeping through our industry nationally and which have now impacted our lives locally.”Karen Foster
The chief executive added that with the theatre generating almost 90% of revenue through ticket sales, the long term picture was likely to remain tough.
“Enormous challenges remain as we face an extended closure period for our main house auditorium.
“We would like to thank our audiences who have been so supportive and to remind everyone that the best way to support our theatre right now is to purchase tickets for future performances, join as a Friend or donate to Lichfield Garrick arts charity via our website, so we can continue to make a difference to our audiences and the many participants of our education and outreach programmes.”Karen Foster