Tyne & Wear

Coronavirus: Sage Gateshead loses half yearly turnover

Sage Gateshead
Image caption The venue recently won two gold awards in the North East Tourism Awards

One of north-east England's most high profile music venues has lost £7m since the coronavirus lockdown started - half its yearly turnover.

Sage Gateshead has applied for business rates relief and tax deferral and is submitting an application to Arts Council England for emergency funding.

Managing director Abigail Pogson said the venue was looking at its budget "every day".

"Our finance director is my top speed dial at the moment," she said.

Some customers have donated the cost of their tickets rather than claim a refund and 90% of staff are on furlough.

Speaking on BBC Radio Four's Front Row Ms Pogson said she had cut back costs where possible "while protecting jobs and the safety of the building".

"It's been a whole operation turning a budget really quickly in a different direction," she said.

"Despite all of that we will run out of money in the summer unless we secure additional support."

In discussions with local authorities and other cultural venues in the area "everyone's really clear that culture will be a crucial part of recovery", Ms Pogson said.

After the NHS and the local authority, the venue is Gateshead's biggest employer.

"We're not alone," Ms Pogson said.

"The entire performing arts venue network across the world is in a similar boat to us."

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