Northern Stage begins redundancy consultations

Published: 2 September 2020
Reporter: Peter Lathan

The ghost light at Northern Stage
Northern Stage exterior
Northern Stage interior

Five months into the venue’s temporary closure, Newcastle’s Northern Stage announces that it is to begin redundancy consultations with staff.

A statement issued today says:

"While we have been able to carry on with our work in the local community and have moved some of our artist support programme online, we still don't know when we will be able to reopen without social distancing. So, despite our best efforts to avoid it, redundancies are now needed to ensure the long term future of Northern Stage.

"Northern Stage currently has 45 permanent staff and a further 34 casual staff who have been working or on furlough for the last five months. We are committed to everyone currently on furlough receiving pay until at least the end of October. At that point, staff employed on a casual basis, such as ushers and stage crew, will revert to their normal contract and be called for paid work when available. Of the staff on permanent contracts, we expect to lose 10–12 posts, retaining around 75% of our permanent workforce to enable Northern Stage to continue to create and showcase work, welcome audiences and serve our community.

"Like the rest of our industry and many others, Northern Stage has suffered a significant loss of earned income due to COVID-19. Our performance and trading activity, which accounts for 43% of our annual income, has been on hold since March. We expect some activity to resume later this year, but we anticipate it will take at least 12 to 18 months to rebuild to February 2020 levels.

"This means that we need to radically rethink what we do and how we do it. More than ever, we need to connect with audiences and collaborate with artists to reimagine the future of Northern Stage. With the appointment of Natalie Ibu as our new Artistic Director, we will be better equipped to take the bold creative decisions needed to adapt and survive the coming months and years.

"Kate Denby, Executive Director, said, 'we know this will have a huge impact on the many dedicated staff who have been desperate to return to work throughout this incredibly difficult period. We will do everything we can to support them going forward and hope that there will be some point in the future when we can welcome them back to Northern Stage.'

"We want to thank our team for their commitment to Northern Stage, their hard work and their resilience in the most difficult of circumstances."