The Royal Shakespeare Company have announced that they will remain closed until 2021, as well as their plans for redundancy consultations, in line with the end of the Coronavirus job retention scheme in October.
The news comes after all RSC shows were cancelled or postponed back in April, until June 30 at the earliest. The company had hopes to reopen for the Winter season with The Winter’s Tale and The Comedy of Errors, which were in rehearsal for Spring performances before lockdown.
Artistic Director Gregory Doran commented: “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.”
From November 1, the RSC will no longer be able to pay its casual workers and those on variable hour contracts, though they will remain on their books for future employment. The RSC employed 750 people before lockdown closed theatres on March 17; 149 people were on variable hours or casual contracts.
Doran said: “Every one of our colleagues makes the RSC the Company that it is, and every one contributes to its success…we thank them for their ongoing support.”
The company will continue to rehearse and perform its programme of outdoor Shakespeare in Stratford, and are looking to expand their online activities to entertain audiences this Autumn and Winter.
Doran added: “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.”
Words by Olivia Emily.
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