Lyceum petition – Management respond

Jun 9 2020 | By More

A statement from the Theatre’s joint directors

Following the launch of the petition to Save the Lyceum Workforce, All Edinburgh Theatre contacted the theatre’s management team for a comment on the petition, its wording and the ongoing negotiations over redundancies.

David Greig (Artistic Director) and Mike Griffiths (Executive Director) were both in meetings and unable to comment in time to provide a response that could be included in the news story we published on Monday. However, they did take time to write a statement later in the evening.

The Lyceum. Pic: Eamonn McGoldrick

Clearly, when it comes to negotiations between staff and management over pay and conditions, it would be wrong for either side to unilaterally comment on the negotiations.

However, we believe that honesty and openness is likely to be the strongest way forward to ensure that the long-term future for the Lyceum theatre is secured.

We hope, that by publishing Greig and Griffiths’ statement in full, it will help nurture understanding on both sides.

Statement by David Greig and Mike Griffiths

Artistic Director and Executive Director – Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh.

“We want The Lyceum to be open. We want our fantastically talented teams of staff and artists to be making theatre. We want to present their plays to audiences who more than ever before are in need of the shared experience, the sense of belonging and the transporting delight of live performance.

“At the moment we cannot do this because our theatre and all UK theatres have been closed to prevent gatherings of people and avoid risk to public health.

“We know that once this pandemic is over, theatre as an engine of togetherness and empathy will be more important than ever, so now more than ever we must look to the future and do all we can to ensure that our theatre survives and our company still exists to employ the artists and skilled teams that bring life-changing stories to the stage.

“In this present moment, like many other theatres The Lyceum is facing a very difficult financial situation. We depend on earned income for around 70% of our turnover and with our building closed for the foreseeable future and social distancing measures likely to remain in place until year-end, we cannot earn this income. Meanwhile many of our costs remain unchanged with wages being the largest single expense.

stark situation

“We have been in contact with Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council and Creative Scotland and made this stark situation very clear. Our membership body in Scotland, the Federation of Scottish theatres has also been in touch with Scottish Government and Creative Scotland to raise these industry-wide concerns and at UK level our representative body UK Theatre has written to the DCMS on behalf of all UK theatres to make it clear that the industry as a whole is facing an urgent existential threat.

Mike Griffiths and David Greig

“We welcome the conversations and ongoing support we receive from Creative Scotland and City of Edinburgh Council, and the support we have received so far from the government’s “Furlough” support scheme.

“The extension of this Furlough scheme is also helpful, but as the terms become less favourable through phased withdrawal, theatres like The Lyceum will face additional costs and we will have to look closely at impacts on cash flow because our income from tickets will not return in these phases and may not return at all for some time.

unprecedented pressures

“Facing these various and unprecedented pressures we have unfortunately had no option but to start talking to unions about possible redundancies in order to reduce costs and prevent the theatre from running out of money before the end of the year – an outcome that would leave the future of the theatre in doubt and therefore something we must do everything we can to avoid.

“At present all Lyceum staff have been notified that they are at risk of redundancy and most staff have been already been placed on furlough. We are currently working with unions BECTU and Equity to minimise the impact of any redundancies and these conversations are proving constructive.

“We will of course take into account any additional offers of support we receive from government bodies which might help us to further mitigate these impacts. While these negotiations are underway we cannot comment further on any specific redundancy plans.”


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