An arts centre has made “in the region of 10%” of its staff redundant and is to slash its opening hours amidst what it described as “significant financial challenges”.
Bosses at Eden Court Theatre in Inverness said the impact of inflation and the “slow return” of audiences after the Covid pandemic had impacted them, with cuts being made in order to keep the centre open.
With staff costs accounting for 50% of spending, the theatre said it had just concluded a compulsory redundancy process “losing in the region of 10% of staff from the 143-strong workforce”.
The theatre and cinema, which is a registered charity, receives funding from Creative Scotland and the Highland Council, and attracts an audience of more than 300,000 people annually.
Meanwhile from January 9 2023, it will open from 11am on Wednesday to Sunday – an hour later than currently. The centre will also close at 4pm on Monday and Tuesday, which it said were “traditionally quieter” days.
However, the changes should allow it to “stay open as a community space seven days a week, whilst also allowing a reduction in running costs”.
The theatre also played a vital role during the Covid-19 pandemic, operating as a humanitarian aid centre.
Eden Court chief executive Rebecca Holt said: “Eden Court, along with many others in the UK theatre sector, is facing significant financial challenges.
“In order to protect Eden Court to best serve artists, audiences and our community into the future, and to ensure its financial stability, we have carried out a detailed financial modelling process looking at every area of the organisation, which regrettably has included staff roles.
“The team here at Eden Court is incredibly creative, kind and hard working. Whilst we’ve been able to preserve the majority of jobs, any redundancy is painful, and my sincere thanks and respect goes to all the team for their grace and understanding in this difficult time.”
The theatre will continue to present a performance programme of opera, ballet, drama, musicals, comedy, orchestras and other shows in 2023.
Don Robertson, chair of Eden Court’s board of directors, said: “Eden Court faces enormous financial challenges due to significantly increased operating costs and lower ticket sales revenues.
“This is a common issue across the arts sector and has unfortunately resulted in the closure of some key Scottish venues.
“Eden Court trustees have approved a decisive plan of action to avoid us incurring a financial deficit which would have threatened the long-term sustainability of the charity.
“Through these actions, and with the continued support of our audiences, staff and funders, we believe that we can secure the future of this vital and highly valued Highland asset.”
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