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Sonia Friedman warns that theatre stands on the brink of ruin

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

WRITING in The Telegraph, leading West End producer Sonia Friedman (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, The Book of Mormon) has warned that “without an urgent government rescue package, 70 per cent of our performing arts companies will be out of business before the end of this year.”

With theatres now closed indefinitely because of the coronavirus outbreak and consequently with no income – “the business of commercial and subsidised theatres is built on box-office revenue” – the future does indeed look bleak. As she explained:

*Imagine the next six months. One by one, our arts and cultural organisations will have to spend their reserves until there is nothing left. They will have no alternative but to enter administration: the Young Vic in November, Shakespeare’s Globe and the Old Vic shortly after. Southampton has already lost its producing theatre, the Nuffield. Others could soon follow: Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds, Sheffield.

“Unless there is intervention, we’ll watch the Royal Shakespeare Company close down, the Royal Opera House and Sadler’s Wells, even the National Theatre itself: all will be gone by December. All West End theatres will be mothballed. Dark. We cannot let this happen.”

After explaining what keeping a theatre open actually entails, Friedman goes on to point out their value not only to the community but also to the economy and why “protecting and preserving what we have will cost far, far less than reconstructing it from the ruins. It is time to act.”

You can read the entire article at www.telegraph.co.uk/theatre/what-to-see/theatre-stands-brink-ruin/.