Leopoldstadt producer claims British theatre stands ‘on brink of total collapse’
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Leopoldstadt producer claims British theatre stands ‘on brink of total collapse’

Sonia Friedman, whose company was forced to suspend 18 productions, said the arts and cultural sector has lost 95 percent of its income

Stock image of a theatre stage (Credit: Monica Silvestre, Pexels)
Stock image of a theatre stage (Credit: Monica Silvestre, Pexels)

A leading West End producer has warned that “British theatre is on the brink of total collapse” as she called on the government to roll out a rescue package for the industry.

Sonia Friedman, 55, whose producing credits include Tom Stoppard’s recent play Leopoldstadt and is the daughter of a Jewish violinist, made the stark warning in the Telegraph yesterday.

More than “1,000 theatres” together with “70 percent of performing arts companies” could be shut down by the end of the year, she predicted in a column for the news outlet.

“Arts and cultural organisations have lost 95 per cent of their income. Theatre has been hit hardest of all,” she wrote.”The three-month shutdown has meant £330 million of income lost. As of now, we’re staring at a closure lasting six to nine months. It could even be a year or more”

The producer revealed her own company was forced suspend and shut down more than 18 productions around the world in the last 10 weeks.

Sonia Friedman Production has scooped up a total of 55 Olivier Awards, 30 Tony Awards and two BAFTAs and developed over 160 new productions since 1990.

Meanwhile, some theatre venues such as the Old Vic and Shakespeare’s Globe have issued appeals for online donations.

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