Theatre impresario Cameron Mackintosh has reportedly made almost 200 UK employees redundant.
Mackintosh, whose Delfont Mackintosh group owns eight London theatres, has become one of the latest performing arts organisations in the UK to make cuts due to COVID-19 pandemic.
The Guardian reported the job cuts at the company, although Delfont Mackintosh declined to give the exact number of redundancies.
A spokesperson for the company said: “It is a very sad time for everyone affected by this thankless situation, one we could never have imagined would have been forced on the industry.”
Billionaire Mackintosh, who has produced a strong series of hits in London and New York City over the last five decades, has been vocal about rejecting the notion of reopening under social distancing rules. He previously complained that there has been no “tangible, practical support” from the government “beyond offers to go into debt”.
In a recent statement, Mackintosh said: “I’m still hopeful that by Easter next year most of my productions and some of our theatres can reopen, so I can start re-employing most of the staff I’ve had to let go. But we’d need to reopen our box offices in November. If the government is unable to support this we’re likely to have to push back our reopening to next summer, causing further devastating losses to both the theatre industry and London’s economy, an economy to which I have already contributed over £1bn in tax.”
Delfont Mackintosh Theatres operates eight theatres which are Gielgud, Noël Coward, Novello, Prince Edward, Prince of Wales, Sondheim (formally Queen’s), Victoria Palace and Wyndham’s
UK theatres closed in March due to the pandemic, and while the government announced on Friday that theatres and venues would be able to reopen from Saturday to indoor performances with socially distanced audiences, the industry is mostly eyeing a 2021 reopening.
Elsewhere, Ambassador Theatre Group recently announced that it will lay off 1,200 casual staff in September, while the Southbank Centre and the National Theatre have announced the loss of 400 jobs each.
The trade union Bectu has predicted that UK theatre job losses jumped from 3,000 to 5,000 in July alone.
The news follows a warning to Prime Minister Boris Johnson that two million viable jobs across the entertainment, hospitality and construction sectors will be lost if it ends its job support scheme as planned at the end of October.
According to new analysis seen by the Observer, as many as three million jobs will depend on the government’s furlough scheme by November. However, while one million jobs will be lost permanently as a result of the pandemic, it finds that the remainder could be saved by adopting a new form of the furlough scheme focussed on specific sectors.
The new research by the Institute for Public Policy Research thinktank warns that withdrawing the furlough scheme with nothing in its place will cause unemployment at levels “not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s”.
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