York & North Yorkshire

Collapsed Shakespeare theatre firm owes York council £43k

Shakespeare's Rose theatre in York Image copyright Anthony Robling
Image caption The replica theatre failed to attract the same numbers in 2019 as in 2018

A council is owed more than £43,000 after a production company that ran Shakespeare's Rose Theatre collapsed into administration.

City of York Council said Lunchbox Productions owed it £113,076 for loss of income from a car park where the theatre was sited in the summer.

In September, the company went into administration due to "unsustainable losses", citing Brexit uncertainty.

Joint administrator, Sadlers, said the council had lodged a claim for £43,000.

The company first launched Shakespeare's Rose Theatre in York in summer 2018 in the city's Castle Car Park. It enabled audiences to watch a play as an Elizabethan audience would have done.

In September a spokesman for the firm confirmed Shakespeare's Rose Theatre had gone into liquidation and Lunchbox Theatrical Productions had gone into administration.

During the theatre's first season in 2018 it attracted 80,000 visitors - 12% of them from outside the UK.

A council report said the attraction was set to bring in up to 90,000 visitors in the summer of 2019.

Instead, it attracted only 47,000 people. And at the Rose Theatre at Blenheim Palace only 38,000 people attended, whereas a figure of 75,000 was anticipated.

The company said: "Sadly, due to Brexit and the economic and political uncertainty this has created, the anticipated audience numbers needed to sustain a project of this scale were not achieved."

A council report said Lunchbox was to pay the local authority £1,047 per day for the loss of income from 135 car parking spaces at Castle Car Park while the theatre was in place.

Charlie Croft, assistant director for communities and culture at the council, said: "We have written to the administrators advising that Lunchbox owe us £43,277."

A spokesman for Sadlers confirmed the council has lodged a claim against the company for the sum, the Local Democracy Reporting Service says.

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