THE ROYAL Shakespeare Company (RSC) has welcomed the government’s £1.57billion support package to protect Britain’s cultural, arts and heritage institutions.
The announcement came less than a week after councillors in Stratford sent an open letter to culture secretary Oliver Dowden demanding urgent action to support the RSC, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and other local arts and culture organisations through the pandemic.
In a joint statement RSC executive director, Catherine Mallyon and Artistic Director, Gregory Doran said: “We are very pleased and relieved to hear news of the government’s support package and investment in the arts and culture sector during this critical time.
“Thank you to the DCMS, HM Treasury and the many people in the sector who have worked together to demonstrate the critical role the arts play in our economic wellbeing and public life. “We hope this investment will provide meaningful support for the whole sector – for the skilled workforce who create world-class theatre, and for theatres and companies at every scale throughout the UK. We are all ready to be part of a powerful civic, emotional and economic recovery for the country, and will be invaluable contributors to the UK’s ability to re-emerge from the pandemic locally, nationally and on a world stage.
“We look forward to receiving the detail of the support package when we will see in full how this will help the survival of the sector, and support our next steps to welcoming audiences back to live theatre.”
The RSC has been forced to postpone all performances for the rest of the year. The virus had prompted the Stratford-based company to initially postpone productions until the end of June, but the “difficult decision” was taken a month ago to cancel all of the planned programme for 2020.
Mr Doran had already said the situation was “really serious” and the RSC was in a very vulnerable position.
The RSC has been forced to terminate contracts and furlough 90 per cent of staff as it continues to explore “every possibility” to secure income.