Theatre Royal Wakefield is latest to announce it will not reopen until next year

Theatre Royal Wakefield is the latest regional arts institution to announce it will not fully re-open until next year.
Theatre Royal Wakefield. Picture: Jonathan GawthorpeTheatre Royal Wakefield. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Theatre Royal Wakefield. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

The theatre's executive director, Katie Town, said it would not host any live performances until spring.

She said: "This decision has not been taken lightly. Like many other theatres, Theatre Royal Wakefield relies heavily on the income from Pantomime and our associated activities during the festive season.

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"However, in light of the fact that we still have no clear idea when we will be able to re-open for public performances, and the fact that the process for accessing the £1.57bn of emergency funding for the arts has only just been unveiled, we feel that the risk of proceeding at this stage is simply too high. If we are to safeguard our building, staff and operations for the future then we must do everything we can to limit the risks we take at this point."

Last month, York's Grand Opera House announced it would not reopen until social distancing measures had finished, while York Theatre Royal and Sheffield's Lyceum and Crucible venues said they would not re-open until spring next year.

Both the Crucible and Lyceum, and York Theatre Royal have announced redundancies as a result of the money lost during the closure period.

Wakefield said it had "lost a few valued colleagues already and consultations are ongoing at present with others".

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In a statement to the Yorkshire Post, the theatre said: "We are hopeful however, that the measures we have already put in place and the decision we have announced today should mean that we won't need to make any further redundancies at this time."

Ms Town said she hoped to be able to return "stronger than ever" with a huge range of shows in 2021, and "that all important pantomime".

Ms Town added: "During our closure we will be restarting a lot of our learning and participation work with sessions beginning very soon. We wouldn’t be able to continue this vital work without the generous support of the people of the Wakefield District."

She urged anyone who is able to "help secure the future of theatre in Wakefield" to consider giving a donation, via theatreroyalwakefield.co.uk/donate