National Theatre increased charitable spending by £10m last year

(Photograph: Rosie Irene Betancourt/Education Images/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)
(Photograph: Rosie Irene Betancourt/Education Images/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)

The National Theatre managed to increase its spending on charitable activities by £10m in 2019/20, despite subsequently having to make 150 redundancies as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to its latest accounts for the year to the end of March 2020, the charity completed a restructure in October last year that resulted in 150 staff being made redundant as it looked to save £6m because of the theatre being closed during the pandemic.

The charity's accounts show it had a 1,188-strong workforce of casual and permanent staff in the 2019/20 financial year.

Total income at the charity was down slightly to £106.4m, but total spending increased nearly £5m to £110.4m.

Income from donations and legacies remained stable at £30.9m, and income from charitable activities increased by more than £4m to £55.9m.

Trading income was also reduced by £6m to £20.1m.

But spending on charitable activities increased by about £10m to £93.2m.

In addition to the redundancy programme, the charity said it was forced to take a number of cost-saving measures to help fill an estimated £80m funding gap because it did not expect to reopen until June 2021 as a result of national lockdown measures.

These included the chief executive taking a 25 per cent pay cut, and all other staff having their pay cut by a fifth, while contracted staff who were unable to work were placed on the government’s furlough scheme.

Service contracts in arease such as housekeeping and IT were negotiated where possible, the charity said, and it launched a streaming service, National Theatre at Home, in an attempt to increase its digital revenue income.

It was hoped these measures would save the charity about £20m and in December last year it secured a nearly £20m loan from the government.

Towards the end of last year it also launched a major fundraising campaign that aimed to raise a further £40m. The campaign has raised £26m so far.

The theatre reopened at the start of June.

Third Sector revealed last month that an administrative error in the accounts led to a compulsory strike-off notice being issued by Companies House.

The charity said an administrative error automatically triggered the strike-off notice after its latest accounts were filed. The notice has since been rescinded.

Lisa Burger, executive director and joint chief executive of the National Theatre, said: “This year has seen us face a risk like no other as theatre-makers have left the industry in their droves following a year of little work.

“Our new work department has continued to provide vital support for artists over this challenging year, and as we look to the future, we commit to sharing our skills and expertise with the nation, with at least one-third of our capacity dedicated to fuelling stages beyond the NT.”

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