Among the cultural institutions hit hardest by the current crisis is London’s ye olde icon, Shakespeare’s Globe. The theatre on the bank of the Thames, modelled on the original home to Shakespeare’s Elizabethan playing company, says it faces its biggest threat since it opened in 1997.
The theatre shared evidence of its current struggle in a paper from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), which has been delivered to culture secretary Oliver Dowden. The paper outlines how many UK theatres and arts institutions – the Globe included – anticipate closure without essential support or funding from the government.
Neil Constable, CEO of Shakespeare’s Globe, said the round theatre doesn’t receive regular public funding and so is currently in ‘a very precarious position financially’. He added: ‘The culture sector has never been more at risk; the closure of many arts institutions would be an irreplaceable loss, not only of culture for the UK, but also of thousands of jobs.’
The Globe CEO went on the share that 1.9 million people have been streaming theatre from The Globe during lockdown, demonstrating the need for arts in a time of crisis. However, he hastened to add that theatres could not simply ‘replace income by streaming films online and donations’.
DCMS committee chair Julian Knight is now calling upon the government to help save the theatre and others like it. ‘The lifting of lockdown will not automatically mean “business as usual” for the creative industries. The government must 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,’ said Knight.
The Globe has been closed since March 23 and traditionally receives the majority of its revenue through ticket sales, tours and activities open to the public. There’s currently a lot of concern that due to audience sizes and theatre layouts, London’s theatres might not be able to reopen immediately, and that opening partially would significantly impact revenue essential to making theatre productions possible.
Find out how to donate to the theatre in the meantime at www.shakespearesglobe.com.
Read more on when London’s theatres could reopen.