RSC jobs under threat as two Stratford theatres remain closed

Published: 7 October 2020
Reporter: Steve Orme

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford: reopening in December 2020 Credit: Sara Beaumont

More than 150 jobs are at risk at the Royal Shakespeare Company which has revealed that two of its three theatres in Stratford, the Swan and The Other Place, will remain closed until 2022.

A formal consultation about redundancies will continue until December and 158 people are currently in roles at risk, although the RSC hopes to make fewer than 90 people compulsorily redundant—17% of the workforce.

The company will stage live performances in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in December 2020 and January 2021 with 'socially distanced', reduced-capacity audiences. Events will also be streamed online.

RSC artistic director Gregory Doran said, “our financial position and uncertainty around future restrictions mean that our immediate focus will be on our largest theatre in Stratford, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

"We’re looking ahead with optimism to 2021 when we plan for our postponed productions of The Winter's Tale and The Comedy of Errors to make it to the stage, and for our glorious Matilda The Musical to reopen at the Cambridge Theatre alongside other shows to reignite the vital West End economy.”

Executive director Catherine Mallyon added, "we’re taking tough decisions to cut costs and make sure we can reopen with confidence.”

The closure of the Swan Theatre means that The Wars of the Roses Parts 1 and 2 will be delayed until 2022.

The RSC’s education section is developing new approaches to support school and home learning and the company's 2016 production of Hamlet, with Paapa Essiedu in the title role, will be streamed free to schools across the UK in the week of 16 November.