(Lanre Bakare’s article appeared in the Guardian, 5/21; Photograph: Will Oliver/EPA.)

Sonia Friedman calls for rescue package to save more than 1,000 theatres from permanent closure

British theatre ‘on brink of total collapse’, says top producer

Sonia Friedman calls for rescue package to save more than 1,000 theatres from permanent closure

British theatre is on the “brink of total collapse”, according to one of the industry’s most successful producers, who has called for an urgent government rescue package to prevent more than 1,000 theatres from permanently closing.

Sonia Friedman, the producer behind West End hits such as The Book of Mormon and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, made the prediction in an article for the Telegraph , in which she said the performing arts faces “the real possibility of complete obliteration” without substantial government support.

“Without an urgent government rescue package, 70% of our performing arts companies will be out of business before the end of this year,” she wrote. “More than 1,000 theatres around the country will be insolvent and might shut down for good.”

The producer said the loss would be “irrecoverable” and said that without intervention the country would watch as over the next six months “our arts and cultural organisations will have to spend their reserves until there is nothing left”.

She added that many will have no alternative but to enter administration.

Friedman is the latest arts figure to call for more support from the government as theatres begin to make redundancies and enter into administration. On Wednesday, Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum announced it was going into “hibernation”, with staff being notified their jobs were at risk.

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