As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has announced that all performances, events and activities will be cancelled up to and including Tuesday 30 June 2020. This date will be under constant review following government, Public Health England and industry advice, and it may lead to the RSC extending these cancellation dates.
Due to the financial impact of the crisis, the Company has made the difficult decision to close the Swan Theatre until the autumn.
Projekt Europa, which was due to open in the Swan Theatre in April and run throughout the summer, is regrettably cancelled. This season of work included Europeana, Peer Gynt and Blindness and Seeing and a production of Decameron 2020 performed by the RSC’s Next Generation Act young company.
If the RSC is able to re-open during the summer months, the Company will open the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (RST) with the planned productions of The Winter’s Tale and The Comedy of Errors. Pericles, which was due to open in the RST in August, has been postponed.
In line with the Society of London Theatre announcement this week, Matilda The Musical will remain closed at the West End’s Cambridge Theatre at least until 31 May 2020.
The RSC’s Box Office team will contact ticket holders over the coming weeks to discuss donation, credit or refund options. Ticket buyers will be contacted on a rolling weekly basis, and people are asked not to contact the Box Office directly due to the volume of activity during this time.
Gregory Doran, RSC Artistic Director and Catherine Mallyon, Executive Director, said:
“This is a situation without parallel for all, and the health of the public and our staff continues to be our number one priority. It is incredibly sad to see our stages empty, productions cancelled, and our buildings closed. In particular, the remarkable Projekt Europa, involving so many creative artists from across Europe, is a huge loss. We have considered this very carefully, but it is sadly unavoidable.
“Our mission is to transform lives through amazing experiences of Shakespeare and great theatre. For us to deliver our mission and to give us the best chance of re-opening as soon as we can, we have to make difficult decisions to ensure the survival of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
“In the face of the considerable challenges posed by COVID-19, we have also made the hard decision to furlough the majority of roles at the RSC under the UK Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. We are working hard to ensure that staff feel fully supported through this process and thank them for their resilience and understanding as we continue to adapt to the rapidly changing situation.
“We are exploring every possibility to secure income from other government schemes, our donors and audiences, and we ask you all to join us in doing whatever you can to secure the future of the RSC for everyone.
“As a registered charity, we rely on a mix of income to fund our activity, from the productions on stage to the important work we do with over 500,000 young people, and our partner schools and theatres around the country. We ask that anyone able to do so considers donating the value of their tickets – in full or in part – to help support the Company to continue this work.”
Audiences can continue to enjoy the Company’s productions and education resources for free including:
- a 30-day trial with Marquee TV, the on-demand streaming service for arts and culture.
- partnering with BBC Culture in Quarantine to bring six of the nation’s best-loved Shakespeare titles to audiences between now and September.
- a supporting package of free educational activities and resources produced in partnership with BBC Bitesize Online and available to schoolchildren studying Shakespeare from home across the UK.
.@TheRSC AD Greg Doran says difficult decisions are being made to ‘ensure the survival’ of the flagship institution, inc furloughing most staff & adapting to a ‘rapidly changing situation’. As with other theatres small & large, they ask for donations to help them continue. #ST pic.twitter.com/wYN4OvCaty
— Terri Paddock (@TerriPaddock) April 9, 2020