LONDON — Britons are calling for Shakespeare’s iconic Globe Theatre to be saved after the company warned it could be forced to close permanently due to a lack of funding that could leave the company “insolvent.”
The famed venue, which opened in 1997, was forced to close its doors on March 20 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, it may never reopen.
“Without emergency funding and the continuation of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, we will spend down our reserves and become insolvent,” Shakespeare’s Globe said.
“We are in desperate need of donations.” a message on the venue’s official website reads.
Situated on London’s River Thames, the open-air theater is a replica of William Shakespeare’s original 1599 Elizabethan venue and attracts tourists from all over the world.
Some 95 percent of the revenue comes from ticket sales and events including tours, performances and poetry readings. As the Globe does not receive funding from Arts Council England, the venue is not entitled to any support under the $110 million emergency relief fund, the BBC reported on Monday.
The theater estimates it needs at least $6 million in funding to prevent a complete shutdown.
“We are a model for the non-subsidized arts sector that is well-run, well-managed and financially resilient, but in the face of a crisis such as this one, there is no mechanism to help us. This has been financially devastating and could even be terminal,” the theater said.
Since its closure in March, the venue has been streaming performances online for free.
On Tuesday, Labour lawmaker Tracy Brabin said it would be “a tragedy” if the venue were to close. “We need to be bold to save our heritage,” she tweeted, calling for implementation of a plan to protect the arts.