All the world’s a stage, but one of the world’s most famous stages may close permanently due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, which temporarily shut its doors in March out of abundance of caution for the virus, is in danger of closing down permanently if it does not receive £5 million (about $6 million) in government funding.
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, a replica of William Shakespeare’s famed 1599 Elizabethan open-air theater, is at risk of closing down permanently due to financial losses incurred due to the coronavirus pandemic. The theater shut its doors temporarily on March 18 due to the coronavirus crisis, but Broadway.com reports that the British cultural institution is in danger of closing for good, according to a U.K. parliamentary committee.
A committee for Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport warns that Shakespeare’s Globe may not be able to reopen its doors before September if it doesn’t receive £5 million ($6 million) in emergency funding from the U.K. government.
“In an unprecedented time for theater, as a charity that receives no regular government subsidy, we need your help more than ever before,” reads a statement on their website. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre asks for donations to keep it afloat here.
Since the Globe opened 23 years ago in 1997, it hasn’t faced this level of financial hardship. But the pandemic has forced widespread theater closures across the world, with stage productions like Frozen, Hangmen and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? ending their runs early. But the theater community has thrived online, with livestreams of filmed productions garnering millions of views. Free filmed productions at the Globe are also enjoying that popularity, with Neil Constable, CEO of the Globe, telling Variety that the productions on Globe’s YouTube channel have been watched by 1.9 million people. There’s a “huge appetite” for culture at a time of national crisis, Constable said, but warns that online popularity “cannot replace income in this way.”
“We are proudly a part of the U.K.’s national identity and landscape, and our survival as an organization largely depends on help from the government to get us through this lockdown period,” Constable told Variety. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has kept us running, but as we receive no regular public funding, like other independent organizations, including the Old Vic, Royal Academy, Royal Albert Hall, we are in a very precarious position financially.”
Arts organizations are entitled to U.K. government support like loans and the furlough scheme, which was extended for another four months last week.
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