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Royal Shakespeare Company: Job cuts as programme cancelled

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image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe RSC had hoped to resume performances by the end of the year but said that was no longer possible

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has cancelled its theatre productions until 2021 due to coronavirus.

The production company in Stratford-upon-Avon said social distancing measures meant it would not be able to stage indoor performances.

It also announced redundancies for staff and a consultation period with employees.

Outdoor events will continue, the RSC said, adding it will develop its online offering for autumn and winter months.

image captionThe theatre company will continue outdoor performances

"We had hoped that things would have become more positive by now," artistic director Gregory Doran and executive director Catherine Mallyon said in a joint statement.

"We very much hope that the government review of social distancing measures in November will bring positive news for the industry and provide a timeline for when we can welcome our audiences back into our theatres again."

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  • How is lockdown hitting Shakespeare's birthplace?

Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, attracts up to six million visitors annually and the town's tourism industry has been hit hard during lockdown.

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image captionAbout 2,747,000 visits were made to Stratford-upon-Avon in 2018

In April, the Centre for Progressive Policy think tank said it expected Stratford-upon-Avon to take one of the biggest economic hits in the UK.

Since lockdown started, the district council has handed out more than £32m in grants to small and medium sized businesses.

The RSC, which has 750 employees, closed its theatres on 17 March and has not been able to reopen since.

It said it was having to consider redundancies "to safeguard the long-term future of the company".

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