City Council stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Plymouth Theatre Royal

Plymouth City Council leader Tudor Evans OBE says the Council is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Theatre Royal as it fights to keep going due to the devastating impact of the COVID-19 shutdown.

Councillor Evans says the City Council is supporting the theatre however it can and is calling for more Government support for theatres badly affected by COVID-19.

Councillor Evans said: “Like everyone in Plymouth I am extremely concerned about the news of redundancies at the Theatre Royal and alongside senior officers have been working hand in glove with CEO Adrian Vinken since March. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the theatre and remain in daily contact with the CEO and also Arts Council England to ensure that we support it through these unprecedented times.

“The Theatre Royal is one of the brightest jewels in Plymouth’s crown and is not only loved by Plymouthians but is a huge driver of our regional economy. As a result these job losses hurt.

“It’s clear that until the theatre can open normally it won’t be viable to do a partial opening and that in the absence of extended government support the theatre has no choice but to consider these redundancies to ensure that it can survive until audiences return. This situation is repeated across the country with many theatres having to cut even deeper with up to 50 per cent redundancies.

“The theatre is precious to the Council and I appreciate that words are not enough. As a result it is important that I set out what we are doing to help ensure that the theatre survives this most difficult time:

  • I have personally met with Arts Council England Chairman and CEO to lobby for emergency grant funding and we are hopeful this will bear fruit
  • We have protected our grant contribution to the Theatre Royal maintaining it at a similar level for the last four years
  • The Theatre Royal operates rent free as part of our grant in aid
  • Senior officers have attended all board meetings and are fully briefed on the current situation
  • We have offered to forward fund our grant to provide cash flow for the theatre

“These actions, and those of the theatre, are designed to ensure that our amazing Theatre Royal Plymouth can get through this difficult period.

“The Government however could and should do more. The end of the Furlough scheme, combined with the inability to reopen and the lack of any new government support, is forcing the Theatre Royal to make these cuts. I have today written to the Secretary of State for Culture restating our ask for support to the UK theatres – bridging the gap between the end of the furlough scheme and when Government will allow our theatres to reopen.”