Harrogate Theatre bosses take 20% pay cut in battle to save town's leading arts venue

Harrogate Theatre’s executive team have taken a pay cut of as much as 20 per cent as the much-loved arts and entertainment institution fights for its survival during lockdown.

Friday, 17th April 2020, 2:31 pm
Updated Friday, 17th April 2020, 2:42 pm
Harrogate Theatres chief executive, David Bown, who has taken a pay cut - Without ticket sales we are down by around 100,000 on the same period last year."

In accordance with Government advice, Harrogate Theatre took the heartbreaking decision to close its doors last month and cancel or postpone all shows until social distancing rules were lifted.

But, with no date yet in sight for relaxing the social distancing rules, the much-loved theatre’s financial predicament is growing by the day.

And that’s despite its emergency appeal receiving nearly £20,000 from the public in less than a month.

In the face of what is this arts charity’s worst financial crisis since it first opened in 1900, the theatre executive team has agreed to take a pay reduction of nearly 20%.

Harrogate Theatre’s chief executive, David Bown, who co-writes the theatre’s award-winning panto, said it was essential that public and businesses continued to back the theatre’s appeal every week during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Mr Bown said: “Without ticket sales we are down by around £100,000 on the same period last year. The longer it continues the higher the risk we face.”

Rachel Auty, the theatre’s head of communications, said the theatre had set a weekly fundraising target of £4,000, the minimum amount needed if this Victorian grade II listed building is to reopen later in the year.

A number of non-operational staff have now been furloughed to reduce costs while several other members of staff have volunteered to take a reduction in pay and/ or unpaid leave.

Rachel Auty said: “All the team have been ready and willing to make generous sacrifices in the hope that we can make it to the other side of this and then start to rebuild financial stability.

“Some staff remain operational in order to keep in contact with customers, continue promoting autumn and panto, and generate the much needed income via our appeal.”

To make a donation to Harrogate Theatre’s Emergency Appeal, visit the theatre’s website at www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk or call 01423 502116 between 10am-5pm, Monday to Friday.

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