Shakespeare’s Globe is facing closure. The CEO of the theatre warned the government this week that the venue would be forced to close its doors for good without at least £5 million pounds of new funding.
Giving evidence to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, a representative for the theatre said: “Without emergency funding and the continuation of the coronavirus job retention scheme, we will spend down our reserves and become insolvent. This has been financially devastating and could even be terminal.”
The theatre is just one of a number of cultural institutions left facing an uncertain future following the Coronavirus outbreak. Efforts to minimise the spread of the disease have meant that all non essential venues are now closed to the public.
The Globe, which opened in 1997 following a 50 year campaign by the American actor Sam Wanamaker, is a reconstruction of the original Globe theatre once graced by the playwright William Shakespeare.
The venue has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country with millions of overseas visitors attending its plays or taking one of the popular venue tours.
The Globe is much more than just another theatre, however. With its intimate connection to Britain’s greatest ever playwright, the venue is a vital part of the nation’s cultural fabric. What’s more, the Globe’s role as an educator, along with its role in increasing access to the arts courtesy of its cut price ticket scheme, means that the venue plays a significant and nationally important role in maintaining the cultural capital of the UK.
Notwithstanding its critical role in the UK arts sector, the Globe receives no state funding whatsoever. This means that the theatre is forced to rely solely on income brought in from its commercial activities. And with theatres up and down the land currently closed, and with more concrete plan for them to reopen, the future for the institution looks bleak.
Moreover, the end of the lockdown will not necessarily mean an end to the theatre’s current woes. The impact of the Coronavirus Crisis is expected to be felt in the cultural sector well into 2021.
Please support Shakespeare’s Globe. There are various ways to donate to the institution – whether by donating directly, buying a gift voucher or becoming a friend of the theatre. More information about how you can help the Globe can be found here.
Information on other ways to help the cultural sector during the Coronavirus Crisis can be found here.