The Wales Millennium Centre has announced that it will close its doors until the start of 2021 – and could remain shut until next summer.
The Managing Director Mat Milsom said that it was an “extremely difficult decision” due to the “devastating” impact the Coronavirus pandemic has had on the theatre industry.
The impact of a 12-month closure would result in around £20m of lost commercial revenue for Wales Millennium Centre and around £70 million for the Welsh economy, he said.
Staff have been told the centre will remain closed until January at least, putting 85 permanent roles at risk of redundancy.
“This decision was not taken lightly. It will affect our staff, volunteers, freelancers, our community, the young people we work with, suppliers and, of course, the 1.6 million visitors who visit our much-loved building each year,” Mat Milsom said.
“However, with no information on when restrictions around mass gatherings may be lifted and no guidelines on how the UK theatre industry will operate when we are allowed to open, it was one that was necessary in order to secure the future of the organisation.
“Like many other venues across the UK, we know that we will not be able to put performances on our stages again while social distancing measures are in place.
“In these circumstances, we can’t open the theatre in a way that provides a good audience experience and is economically viable for the Centre and the producers who present their work here.
“All our major shows for 2020 have now been postponed or cancelled and we could remain closed until spring or even summer 2021.
“We are also expecting significant disruption to the availability of touring shows for years to come, as productions are being cancelled and no new shows are being created.
“We are speaking to producers of touring shows and to other venues daily, we are all feeling the effects and know that the situation is extremely serious and needs Government intervention and guidance urgently.”