Coronavirus having a 'terrible' impact on regional theatres, warns Barking MP Dame Margaret Hodge

File photo of Margaret Hodge MP

Coronavirus is having a "terrible" impact on regional theatres Labour's MP for Barking has warned.

Dame Margaret Hodge, who is the chair of the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, warned venues will be taking "irrevocable decisions" around staff cuts if a support package is not announced within the next ten days.

Her comments come after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that while lockdown restrictions are set to be eased in pubs and restaurants, live performances will continue to be banned.

She said one of the tactics theatres might use to make it through the crisis is to "mothball the theatre, make everybody redundant and wait to come back again". > "It is a terrible loss. It is a tragedy for the individuals and it is just the wrong way to go," Dame Margaret said. > She added that theatres will not be able to afford to put on shows with social distancing measures in place even if regulations are relaxed as they will not be profitable enough. > Dame Margaret said Britain is "brilliantly renowned" for its creative industries and, in addition to their cultural worth, they are a great asset to the economy.

Jermyn Street Theatre in London announced on Wednesday that it will remain closed for the rest of 2020.

On Tuesday, Royal Albert Hall chief executive Craig Hassall warned the Government needs to provide solutions around the reopening of the creative sector in "weeks, not months".

The Royal Albert Hall in Kensington Credit: PA

The London venue has lost around £12 million in potential income, he said, adding they are in a "desperate situation".