250 jobs at risk as Wales Millennium Centre to remain closed until 2021

Credit: PA

250 jobs could be at risk as the Wales Millennium Centre is set to shut until 2021 because of the 'devastating' impact of the virus.

All shows at the venue have been cancelled and postponed following the outbreak of coronavirus.

The Lion King, Welsh National Opera’s autumn season, The Book of Mormon and The Phantom of the Opera, were all due to take place in the Centre’s 1,850 seat Donald Gordon Theatre.

85 permanent staff are also at risk of redundancy. The Centre's closure will also impact the 300 volunteer roles and freelance and local artists.

The Managing Director, Mathew Milsom, said with no information on when restrictions on mass gatherings would be lifted, the decision was 'necessary to secure' its future.

This week has been one of the toughest in my entire career. I've had to make the extremely difficult decision to close the venue until January 2021, as a result of the devastating impact the Coronavirus pandemic has had.

Mathew Milsom, Managing Director
Credit: PA

The Wales Millennium Centre, in Cardiff Bay, has been closed since March and faces losing around £20m in income.

Mr Milsom said the organisation lost 85% of its income overnight when they shut. The centre could remain closed until spring or possibly summer 2021.

In a joint statement, Cardiff's four MPs, Jo Stevens MP, Kevin Brennan MP, Stephen Doughty MP, and Anna McMorrin MP, called for urgent UK Government support to save the WMC and other similar live performance venues.

Much loved venues like the Wales Millennium Centre are not only crucial to sustaining our strong cultural landscape in Wales, but are also important drivers of major tourism and investment to our city.

Jo Stevens MP, Kevin Brennan MP, Stephen Doughty MP, and Anna McMorrin MP
Credit: PA

On Friday, in the daily Welsh Government briefing, the First Minister Mark Drakeford said he hopes to hear from the UK Government on providing funding for cultural organisations to help them deal with the 'crisis'.

He said it will allow the Welsh Government to help arts organisations, such as the WMC, who are facing 'such a bleak prospect'.