This week we were very grateful to receive a grant from Arts Council England’s Emergency Response Fund. This money, combined with the generous support of our audiences and friends, will ensure that Tobacco Factory Theatres can stay afloat until October.
We want to extend our heartfelt thanks to Arts Council England and to all our supporters. You have given our charity a chance to make it through this devastating crisis.
When we closed our doors to the public on Tue 17 March, we cancelled or postponed all upcoming shows. We also reduced down to a small skeleton team, in order to receive critical funding from the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Since then we have been distributing grants, on behalf of The Gane Trust, to freelance artists who are experiencing hardship, and working to ensure the survival of Tobacco Factory Theatres.
Our public subsidy amounts to just 5% of our annual costs, and so we’ve always depended hugely on our loyal audiences who, in normal times, attend more than 400 performances a year. This box office income has sustained our beautiful building and wonderful staff for almost two decades, and enabled us to offer life-enriching learning to people of all ages.
The sudden loss of this income placed the charity in imminent danger of permanent closure. However, due to the generosity of so many people who’ve donated or waived a refund, and the Job Retention Scheme, we are still here in July. Thank you to everyone who’s made that possible.
We welcome the government’s announcement of a support package for the arts sector. We hope it can help every part of the ecosystem on which theatre depends – especially freelancers who make up the majority of the workforce. Details are urgently needed as to whether this package can benefit our organisation.
Sadly, with the Job Retention Scheme closing at the end of October, we have had to take drastic action to keep the organisation afloat. We have made the heartbreaking decision to enter redundancy consultations with our employees, and we expect we will need to reduce staffing costs by up to 70%.
Whilst audiences are the lifeblood of Tobacco Factory Theatres, our staff are its beating heart and most valuable asset. We thank them for their skills, passion and wisdom which have made the theatre a place to be proud of, and for their patience, understanding and courage during these hardest of times.
We will be reopening the theatre as soon as it is safe to do so, but it is possible we won’t be able to present shows to live audiences until 2021. If we have to postpone further performances, we will contact audiences to reschedule or refund bookings.
It has never felt more vital for us to continue in our mission to offer a welcoming home for creative adventures, human connection and learning.
If you are in a position to help secure the future of this theatre and those we work with, with any level of donation, we would be immensely grateful.
If you are one of the people who has already made a donation to Tobacco Factory Theatres, an enormous thank you.
If you would rather make a donation over the phone please contact our Box Office on 0117 902 0344 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Box Office is open between 10am – 1pm from Monday – Friday.
We hope to see you again at Tobacco Factory Theatres, and we’re sending you our kindest wishes until then.
Mike Tweddle, Artistic Director
David Dewhurst, Acting Executive Director
Posted on 09 July 2020