Panto cancelled as staff at New Wolsey Theatre face job cuts

Front of the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich

The New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich is running a programme of outdoor events for families over the summer - Credit: Archant

A ‘significant’ number of jobs are under threat at Ipswich’s New Wolsey Theatre after the venue cancelled its autumn calendar and Christmas pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk.

The devastating impact of coronavirus and social distancing measures have been cited as key factors in the decision by the theatre to explore the possibility of making job cuts.

Despite entering the lockdown in “rude health”, the venue’s income has been wiped out after a prolonged closure of more than four months.

Indoor theatres were only allowed to reopen by the government on August 1 and visitors will be required to wear face masks or covering from Saturday.

Customers who had bought tickets to any upcoming shows that have now been cancelled will be refunded.

A spokesman for the venue said on Facebook: “It is with deep regret that the management of the New Wolsey Theatre has had to make the extremely difficult decision to consult a significant number of its staff about possible redundancies.

“As custodians of a registered charity and a publicly funded organisation, the trustees and senior executives have a responsibility to do all they can to protect the long term future of the New Wolsey Theatre.

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“It’s not financially viable to stage our existing productions until social distancing is no longer required.

“Over the last twenty years, with the support of our audiences, colleagues, funders and friends, the New Wolsey has become a thriving enterprise and entered the current crisis in rude health.

“Despite the difficulties we now face, and the very painful process of consulting about redundancies with a team of staff that have been loyal, hard working and super people, we are determined that we will steer the theatre through this crisis.”

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