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Southbank Centre Likely To Close Until Next April

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The Southbank Centre has warned it is at risk of closure until at least April 2021, and is calling on the government for further support.

The arts venue is forecasting a best case scenario of a £5m loss at the end of the 2020/2021 financial year, as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

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However, that will have meant the Southbank Centre will have used up all its reserves and be in a deficit. It will also have needed £4m support from the government’s job retention scheme, and will have used up the remainder of its Art Council grant.

The charity has said it will need to make redundancies and the organisation “will cease to be a going concern before the end of the year if further urgent support is not secured.”

With social distancing measures likely to remain in place for months to come, the Southbank Centre has said its venues are unlikely to reopen until April 2021, since opening on restricted capacities means it would lose more money by opening than it would generate.

The centre is preparing to cancel events from September to November of this year. It is also considering the option of broadcasting concerts from behind closed-doors through the autumn and into Spring 2021.

Last week, Shakespeare’s Globe also warned that unless it receives emergency funding it will collapse due to the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis.


It said it would need at least £5m – 20 per cent of its annual turnover – in order to open its doors.

The Southbank Centre has today called on the government to extend the furlough scheme beyond October for the cultural sector, and support self-employed artists who don’t qualify under the current financial support schemes.

Chief executive Elaine Bedell said: ““It is with an incredibly heavy heart that we today share further details about the future of the Southbank Centre. We know we are not alone in this and stand with our friends, partners, and colleagues – both here in the UK and abroad – during this time of unprecedented challenge.”

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