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Shakespeare Theatre Company Lays Off One-Third of Full-Time Employees and Cuts Budget By 44%

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Shakespeare Theatre Company Lays Off One-Third of Full-Time Employees and Cuts Budget By 44%

Shakespeare Theatre Company has laid off a third of its full-time employees and cut its budget by 44%, The Washington Post reports.

Company officials said that 38 members of the company's 116-person staff were notified of their termination over the past 10 days. This comes after the company cut its 2020-21 budget from $18.5 million to $10.5 million.

"This is all very tragic, and for no other reason than the pandemic," said Simon Godwin, Shakespeare Theatre's artistic director.

The layoffs were able to be put off thanks to the Paycheck Protection Program, and a company fundraising effort, the Phoenix Fund, that raised more than $1 million.

On March 17, Artistic Director Simon Godwin announced the creation of the Phoenix Fund. One of STC's generous board members offered a matching grant of up to one million dollars. Many patrons have donated their tickets back to the theatre in support of the Phoenix Fund, named after one of Shakespeare's favorite images, the mythical bird born again from the ashes of destruction.

STC has yet to announce when they will reopen. The current social distancing guidelines would only allow for about 25% of seats in the 774-seat Sidney Harman Hall to be filled.

Read more on The Washington Post.

For more than 30 years the Shakespeare Theatre Company has dedicated itself to being the nation's premier classic theatre. By focusing on works with profound themes, complex characters and heightened language written by Shakespeare, his contemporaries and those playwrights he influenced, STC's artistic mission is unique among regional theatres: to bring to vibrant life groundbreaking, thought-provoking and eminently accessible classic theatre in a uniquely American style.

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