Shakespeare’s Globe theater in London could be shuttered permanently because of coronavirus restrictions.
The art space, a reconstruction of the original playhouse where William Shakespeare showcased his most famous work, is on the brink of bankruptcy since closing amid the pandemic in March.
“Despite being well-managed, well governed, and – crucially – able to operate without public subsidy, we will not be able to survive this crisis,” British lawmakers heard on Monday as they weighed COVID-19’s impact on the creative industry, according to the Guardian.
The world-renowned theater has implemented “radical cost-cutting” but isn’t eligible for emergency funds that are available to other arts organizations.
The Globe stays afloat off ticket sales and private donations, the UK’s Metro reported.
“We are a model for the non-subsidized arts sector … but in the face of a crisis such as this one, there is no mechanism to help us. This has been financially devastating and could even be terminal,” theater representatives told lawmakers.
British politicians are rallying behind the Globe and other arts institutions, including Julian Knight who told colleagues, “For this national treasure to succumb to COVID-19 would be a tragedy.”
“Like many theaters and venues across the country, it faces a struggle for survival and an uncertain future. The lifting of lockdown will not automatically mean ‘business as usual’ for the creative industries,” Knight said.
“The government must step up now and find more funding to shore up our cultural landscape and safeguard our rich past while giving hope to those whose livelihoods depend upon it.”
The original Globe Theatre, where Shakespeare’s acting company The Lord Chamberlain’s Men performed, burned down in 1613 following a rendition of Henry VIII. Some of the great English playwright’s most famous works appeared on stage there, including Othello, King Lear, Macbeth and Hamlet.
The current theater was built in 1997 on London’s South Bank one street away from the original and drew in more than a million visitors per year.