National Theatre lost almost a quarter of staff due to Covid-19-enforced closure last year

The charity's income fell by almost half year on year, its latest accounts show

National Theatre

Income at the Royal National Theatre fell by almost half as it made nearly a quarter of its workforce redundant because of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the charity’s latest accounts, up to the end of March 2021, its total income fell from nearly £107m in the previous year to £56.3m.

This was driven by a drop in trading and charitable activity because of the theatre being closed for most of the year due to the government’s pandemic restrictions.

Although income from donations and legacies increased to £37m in 2020/21, this was offset by the more than £60m reduction in income from trading and charitable activities.

To help mitigate the cost of the pandemic the charity received a nearly £20m loan from the Culture Recovery Fund as part of an £80m recovery plan.

A redundancy programme was completed in October 2020, with the charity’s workforce reduced by about 23 per cent to 759.

The accounts show staff costs including redundancies were reduced by nearly £20m on the previous year to £31.5m.

Total spending was also reduced by more than £60m to £51.6m and spending on charitable activity was cut by more than half.

In his foreword to the accounts, Damon Buffini, chair of the charity, acknowledged a year of “unprecedented change”.

He described the job losses as a “traumatic period of crisis” and thanked trustees, donors and staff for their commitment and support.

“The future will be different from what came before, but it seems clear to me that the crisis has strengthened and clarified the National Theatre’s purpose.”

In June, Third Sector revealed 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 The notice was subsequently rescinded.

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