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London-Based Shakespeare's Globe and Donmar Warehouse in Financial Jeopardy

The two theaters could be forced to close without government funding.

Mark Rylance as Olivia in Twelfth Night
(© David Gordon)

Several historic London theaters, including Shakespeare's Globe and the Donmar Warehouse, are in jeopardy of closing amid the coronavirus pandemic unless they receive emergency government intervention, according to a new letter from England's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee to the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.

The DCMS Committee has issued a stark warning to Dowden in the letter published today, stating that "The Government needs to step up for cultural institutions. Additional financial support needs to be provided to individuals and institutions in the creative industries that are unsuccessful or ineligible for Arts Council England (ACE) funding."

Shakespeare's Globe does not receive any regular subsidy and relies mostly on charitable donations. Without emergency funding from the British government, the Globe bluntly stated, "We will spend down our reserves and become insolvent." They will also be forced to reduce its artistic and educational output, with their ability to present affordable ticket prices completely compromised.

Meanwhile, the Donmar is in a similar situation. "Unless we now cancel a forthcoming and essential capital project, we will have no funds to transition our model to a more sustainable one, create artistically adventurous work with inherent risk, cashflow the business or cushion the effects of any further crisis or downturn," they said. The delay or cancellation of this project means "a high likelihood of equipment failure in the near future and will put the business continuity of the theatre at risk, even if we survive the COVID-19 emergency."

The Donmar Warehouse produced the Broadway transfers of John Logan's Red and Peter Morgan's Frost/Nixon, among other works. Shakespeare's Globe has been represented on Broadway with Farinelli and the King, Twelfth Night, and Richard III, all starring the organization's former artistic director, Mark Rylance.

Shakepeare's Globe is currently calling for donations here.

To donate to the Donmar, click here.

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