Live Nation has furloughed 20 per cent of employees as UK theatres claim to be facing serious threat of going into administration…

Live Nation

Live Nation has furloughed 20 per cent of its employees as part of the firm’s cost-cutting measures amid the COVID-19 live events blackout.

The Hollywood Reporter stated a company source said those that have been furloughed in recent days include employees who worked in media and sponsorships, as well as people who work on the concerts and venues teams.

According to Billboard, 2,100 of the company’s 10,500 employees have been affected by the decision.

Those that have been furloughed will not receive a salary, but will continue to receive medical benefits. The percentage of those furloughed has varied by division but generally has been between 15 and 25 per cent of employees, according to the website.

The news follows April’s announcement that Ticketmaster North America, which is owned by Live Nation, furloughed a quarter of its staff.

The issue of possibly furloughing staff had been raised two weeks ago in parent company Live Nation’s SEC filing, which indicated the entertainment giant was looking to cut $500m in costs.

As part of the cost reduction measures, Live Nation chief executive Michael Rapino announced he will forgo his $3m annual salary, as well as announcing a new $120m credit facility to protect its concert business.

The filing said Live Nation was looking into further cost reduction efforts that include “hiring freezes, reduction in the use of contractors, rent re-negotiations, furloughs, and reduction or elimination of other discretionary spending, including, among other things, travel and entertainment, repairs and maintenance, and marketing”.

UK theatres

Shakespeare’s Globe, one of London’s most iconic theatres, is on the brink of closure due to the COVID-19 outbreak, according to evidence submitted to MPs.

In written evidence presented to the UK Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Globe chiefs said that “we will not be able to survive this crisis” unless further assistance is provided by government.

Representatives of the 1,400-capacity playhouse said in their submission to the Impact of COVID-19 on DCMS Sectors Inquiry that the COVID-19 closure has had a “devastating impact” on its finances and presents the greatest threat to its future since opening in 1997.

“Without emergency funding and the continuation of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, we will spend down our reserves and become insolvent,” Globe representatives wrote.

MP Julian Knight, who chairs the committee, said in a letter to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden that it would be a “tragedy” if the London theatre were to close. He called on the government to “step up now and find more funding to shore up our cultural landscape and safeguard our rich past while giving hope to those whose livelihoods depend upon it.”

The DCMS committee will take further evidence from arts sector representatives in a session on Tuesday, May 19.

The Globe is just one of a number of UK cultural institutions facing the risk of insolvency as a result of the mass closure of venues due to the pandemic. Theatres have been placed in the final phase of reopening plans, with social distancing measures making it unfeasible for such venues to host events.

Earlier this month, Nuffield Southampton Theatres (NST) was placed into administration after cancelling all performances on April 3.