Because everything is terrible now, news broke today that Shakespeare’s Globe theater in London may be forced to close permanently because of coronavirus. This, as the bard might say, doth suck.
According to a UK Committee of Legislators representing the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Globe is one of many cultural institutions which may be permanently shut down due to the coronavirus. This is not because they fear to reopen safely, but may go under and run out of money long before that’s possible.
— Shakespeare’s Globe (@The_Globe) May 18, 2020
Speaking to Variety, the Neil Constable, CEO of the Globe laid out the dire situation:
We are proudly a part of the U.K.’s national identity and landscape, and our survival as an organization largely depends on help from the government to get us through this lockdown period. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has kept us running, but as we receive no regular public funding, like other independent organizations, including the Old Vic, Royal Academy, Royal Albert Hall, we are in a very precarious position financially.
The Globe is a replica of the theater built by Willian Shakespeare himself and has operated in its current form since 1997. Its streaming broadcasts of recent productions have been seen by 1.9 million people online, as the appetite for theater during the pandemic has only grown. Because the Globe is not funded by the Arts Council England (ACE), the theater was not able to access emergency funds after shutting down, not was it able to get other funds designated for organizations funded outside of ACE. Without more assistance, the organization, which is so beloved and vital, might not make it.
That assistance, in this case, needs to come from the government, which is why this news is breaking now, mainly in the form of a plea that this beloved UK institution not succumb to COVID-19. “Without emergency funding and the continuation of the coronavirus job retention scheme, we will spend down our reserves and become insolvent,” Globe representatives have told legislators. MP Julian Knight, who chairs the committee has said it would be a “tragedy” if the Globe were to fail.
Hopefully, the Globe will receive much-needed assistance and funding, but supporters are also able to donate directly to support this institution. Beyond its historical and artistic importance, the Globe is highly accessible price-wise—unlike many theaters, you can get tickets to the standing room area (in this case, right in front of the stage), the 700-person “Yard,” for only £5.00. It’s a wonderful experience, and one we hope we will continue to see for a long time in the future.
(via Variety, image: Wikimedia Commons)
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