Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre begs for help to avoid closure

By May 21, 2020Culture, News

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is in financial trouble and has asked for urgent funding to avoid going out of business.

The COVID19 pandemic has hit many services and establishments hard, including the famous Globe Theatre which has been shut since the 20th of March 2020.

Local MPs have bee warned that the theatre is “critically vulnerable and at risk of closure in the wake of Covid-19” and would need at least £5m to get back up and running after being deemed ineligible for Arts Council England’s relief and “left without any emergency support”.

The theatre told the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee: “Without emergency funding and the continuation of the coronavirus job retention scheme, we will spend down our reserves and become insolvent.

“This has been financially devastating and could even be terminal.”

Conservative MP Julian Knight, who chairs the committee, told Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden in a letter that it would be a “tragedy” if the theatre closes.

“Shakespeare’s Globe is a world-renowned institution and not only part of our national identity, but a leading example of the major contribution the arts make to our economy,” he wrote.

“For this national treasure to succumb to Covid-19 would be a tragedy.”

As the Globe is not awarded annual funding from Arts Council England (ACE), it can’t use ACE’s £90m emergency relief fund and was also turned down for a donation from a £50m pot for organisations outside the ACE annual funding regime.

The Globe raises 95% of its revenue through ticket sales, guided tours, education workshops, retail and catering – but as they cannot open to the public, there is no income.

The theatre has now warned it faces the “biggest threat to its future since opening in 1997”.

“We are a model for the non-subsidised arts sector that is well-run, well-managed and financially resilient, but in the face of a crisis such as this one, there is no mechanism to help us,” it said.”In a crisis such as this one, ACE has been unable to support an organisation of our size and scale.

“As an organisation that contributes so much to the UK’s cultural life, that delivers public benefit, and that stewards one of the most important, recognised and well-loved buildings in the country, we would hope that we have earned the right to be supported in return through this crisis.”

A spokesperson from ACE said it had received more than 13,500 applications to its emergency funds, “and unfortunately have not been able to help everyone who applied”.

They added: “We are working closely with partners, including government, to look at what measures are needed to support cultural organisations over the coming months.”

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