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Threat of job cuts at RSC as theatres stay closed

The Royal Shakespeare Company today (Thurs, Aug 27) confirmed that RSC theatres will not reopen for full productions before 2021, and that job cuts could be on the way.

In a joint statement, Artistic Director Gregory Doran and Catherine Mallyon, Executive Director, said: "Despite our wish to re-open our theatres by the end of the year, it is now clear that the 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."

They added: "It is with great sadness that we have now reached the stage where a formal consultation process with employees must take place to safeguard the long-term future of the company.

"We had hoped that things would have become more positive by now, but this has not been the case. With the end of the (government's job retention scheme) in sight, today we gave advance notice to our trade union partners and our employees of a formal consultation process, which will begin in October.

"We also confirmed that, as there will be no work available from 1 November, we will be unable to pay casual worker colleagues and those employed on variable hours contracts. Variable hours colleagues will remain employed, and casual workers will stay on our books, for when work opportunities return in the future."

They said that the acting company would continue to work on events and activities, including a programme of outdoor Shakespeare in Stratford.

"We will look at what other events, and online activity we can continue to provide for our audiences in the autumn and winter," they continued. "Our work in partnership with teachers and schools to support children and young people as they return to school is ongoing, with communities across the country, and alongside our regional theatre partners.

"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."

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