Trav in redundancy talks

Jul 17 2020 | By More

Over a third of jobs at risk as theatre closed to 2021

The jobs of 11 customer-facing and technical staff at the Traverse are at risk as the theatre enters redundancy talks with its 28 permanent staff and announces it will be closed until 2021.

A statement released today, Friday 17 July 2020, says it is not “financially viable” to present performances in its usual format while social distancing continues. There would not be enough seats to cover costs, nor would tickets be affordable.

The Traverse Theatre. Pic: Sally Jubb

The theatre has lost two-thirds of its earned income since it closed on 21 March due to Covid-19 restrictions. The majority of theatre staff have been on furlough since shortly after the closure of the building.

A spokesperson for theatre told Æ that a core team has stayed at work: “to produce and deliver content, work on financial modelling and applications and settlements, and revise the organisation’s business strategy on an ongoing basis.”

The Traverse is currently in the process of applying for the Scottish Government’s Performing Arts Relief Fund. However, if it is to stay open in the future, it says it still needs to restructure its organisation, remodel its work and reduce costs to ensure its survival.

painfully difficult decision

Friday’s statement, from CEO Linda Crooks and chair of the board John Elvidge, says: “We have therefore had to make the painfully difficult decision to enter into redundancy consultation with a number of our team in customer-facing and technical roles, with the likelihood that almost a third of our staff will be made redundant.

“We have worked tirelessly to explore all possible avenues and prevent this awful situation, but we currently have no other choice in order to protect the future of the Traverse and the vibrant organisation on which our community relies.”

The Traverse’s online workshops run for 16 weeks

After closing in March – cancelling the run of Donny’s Brain by Rona Munro which was already in rehearsal – the Traverse cancelled its Fringe programme on April 1.

It streamed Five from Inside, a series of monologues written by Munro and performed in isolation by the Donny’s Brain cast, during the time the play was scheduled to run.

It is currently in the middle of a 16 week series of workshops by established playwrights, streamed online, which are aimed at helping playwrights get scripts ready to submit to the theatre when its Open Submissions window opens in September.

come back stronger

Crooks and Elvidge say that the proposed redundancies will leave the Traverse with “a small core grouping, who are tasked with creating opportunities for our organisation to come back stronger and to oversee delivery across our work in engagement, talent development and creativity.”

They add: “The Traverse remains committed to a future of developing writers and supporting creatives at all stages of their careers, discovering new voices by engaging with our community, audiences and freelance artists, here in our city and across the globe.

“We will look different in the future, but we are determined that the Traverse and its spirit will survive for generations to come, both onstage and online.”


The Open Submissions Workshops are available here on the Traverse’s YouTube channel until September 2021.

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