Petition to save Lyceum workforce

Jun 8 2020 | By More

Brian Cox lends support to Lyceum “family”

Actor Brian Cox has put his support behind staff at the Lyceum, where he had his first acting job, calling for management to be “absolutely straight with their incredibly loyal staff exactly what is proposed for the theatre’s future.”

Cox’s support follows the setting up of a petition to the Scottish Government and Culture minister Fiona Hyslop to draw attention to plans by the Lyceum Theatre management to make what it says is an expected 43 workers redundant, because of the Covid-19 restrictions.

The Petition on

The potential for redundancies was first pointed out on May 20 as management announced that the theatre would be going into “hibernation” until at least January 2021. Management contacted unions and staff to inform them of possible redundancies, saying that all posts were under review with significant cost savings required.

The petition comes after an impassioned Facebook post on Friday 5 June from a member of the Lyceum staff of 20 years standing who said: “What is actually being put forward is a widespread cull of two thirds of the staff, with the technical and production team bearing the lion’s share.”

Brian Cox said in a Facebook message of support that it appears that, “because of an apparent breakdown in communication between Lyceum Management and Lyceum Staff, that there is an element of subterfuge on Lyceum Management’s part to use the present pandemic as means of cutting staff in order to streamline and reinvent the Lyceums future.”

a state of total uncertainty

Cox first joined the Lyceum in 1965, when he became a member of the theatre’s first acting company after completing his training at The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).

He says: “Surely it behooves the Lyceum Management to be absolutely honest in what their vision of the Lyceum will be post this pandemic and how it will affect its staff, who are currently in a state of total uncertainty as to their future.”

Brian Cox and Bill Paterson in the 2015 production of Waiting for Godot. Pic: Alan McCredie.

He elected to become an honorary patron of the theatre in 2012, returning to its stage in 2016 to star with Bill Paterson in the 50th anniversary season production of Waiting for Godot.

Cox adds: “The ‘Ole lady of Grindlay Street’ has a great place in my heart. As a theatre It was very much my first spiritual home. The space always extended a great warmth and care like a large embracing Ma!

“Those of us who have partaken and played in ‘The Ole Lady’s embrace,’ have always been family!”

The petition says: “The Lyceum Theatre Company isn’t the building. It’s the people – the people who have spent countless, long, hard hours making the work for which The Lyceum is so well known.

“Please call for the Scottish Government to intervene to stop the destruction of this long established and hardworking theatre company. In addition to the lost jobs, the loss to the community as a whole would be colossal – it would be a fantastically short-sighted dismissal of an Edinburgh institution that has brought joy to so many.”

Support for the Lyceum has also come from actor Alan Cumming, who appeared on the Lyceum stage in the 1980s. In a post on Twitter he says: “Hey Edinburgh theatre lovers! Please sign this petition! Shady going on surrounding the beautiful Lyceum Theatre must be stopped!!
Fiona Hyslop: Save the Lyceum Theatre’s workforce – Sign the Petition!”

Following the initial announcement of the Lyceum’s hibernation, Ben Jeffries the director of communications at the theatre told Æ: “All roles within the company have been notified that they are at risk of redundancy.

“Just for avoidance of doubt this includes, Mike [Griffiths, Executive Director and joint Chief Executive], David [Greig, Artistic Director and joint Chief Executive] and Senior Management as well as front line staff in Box Office FOH, Workshops etc.


“Not everyone will go, some roles will be retained during “hibernation” but how these roles will be filled and the final number of job losses will not be known until consultations with staff and the unions (Bectu and Equity) are complete – these consultations are ongoing, – they just started today.”

As of 4pm on Monday 8 June 2020, the petition had been signed by 2,850 people – and counting.


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