Lyric Hammersmith Theatre announces redundancy consultation

The Lyric Hammersmith Theatre announced today that it has placed over one fifth of its staff at risk of redundancy, as a result of the financial impact of Covid-19.

The theatre, which has been in Hammersmith for 125 years, has been closed for six months due to the global pandemic, and the theatre estimates it has lost 75% of its income.

With no certainty around when the theatre will be able to return to normal business, it entered a period of consultation with its staff, placing 22% of them at risk of redundancy.

Artistic Director, Rachel O’Riordan and Executive Director, Sian Alexander said: “It is with heavy hearts that we enter this period of consultation with our staff.

“What makes the Lyric such a special theatre are the people who make the work we do happen. Although we are grateful for the opportunity to apply for a government Culture Recovery Fund grant, that alone will not guarantee our survival, even if we are successful.

“As we don’t know when we will be able to return to the same levels of activity, we are forced to reduce our staffing levels. We have an incredible team and are so grateful for their resilience during this challenging time; we are committed to supporting them all through this sad and difficult process.

“We must ensure the future of the Lyric, which has survived so much in its 125-year history. We will remain a theatre that will create world-class theatre from the heart of Hammersmith, committed to providing opportunities and pathways into our industry for young people across West London.

“We are grateful to our funders and supporters for their continued help during this challenging time. We will reopen and welcome our community back.”

The Lyric Hammersmith remains closed to the public and confirmed that their 2020 Christmas pantomime Aladdin has been pushed back to November 2021.

The theatre industry as a whole has taken a huge hit as a result of the pandemic.

Henry VIII based musical Six will become the first West End musical to reopen since March when it kicks off on 14 November.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden wrote in the Daily Mail earlier this month that he intends to get theatres back open by Christmas, but it is unclear how Boris Johnson’s new lockdown regulations, which have curtailed attempts for sports fans to return to stadiums, will affect this plan.

You can donate to the Lyric Hammersmith’s Covid-19 recovery fund here.

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