Marina Theatre, Lowestoft

Lowestoft’s Marina Theatre has become the latest venue to announce large job cuts as a result of coronavirus.

In a statement on its website, the theatre confirmed that as many as 71% of its staff are at risk of redundancy, with working hours cut for many remaining posts. According to its latest published accounts, it employs 44 people.

The statement said: “Since March we have not been allowed to open and trade. Even if we were allowed to open, with social distancing in place & public worry a very real consideration, it just isn’t financially viable within our current operating structure.

“We have been incredibly grateful to the Arts Council for its Emergency Funding award and have made full use of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. However, this just isn’t enough.

“As a result of this and our catastrophic drop in income, we have reached the conclusion that we have no choice but to reduce our overheads and scale back our operation.”

Chief executive Emma Butler Smith said: ““This is an awful decision to have to make, but we are faced with no other choice.

“Our staff are wonderful people: loyal, committed and hard-working and they don’t deserve this – no one in the industry does. Heart-breaking doesn’t begin to describe how we feel and we are devastated to find ourselves at this point.

“In February we were in the best place we have ever been financially, with exciting plans and a solid business plan. Even after all these weeks, it is hard to realise that our bright future has been taken from us.”

There has been a theatre on the site since 1897, when it was converted from an ice rink. The 800-seat venue has been an residence of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra since 2005.

The theatre building is owned by Lowestoft Town Council, and rented by the Marina Theatre charity.

The council provides grant support of around £150,000 a year.