Job cuts announced at Cornwall’s open-air Minack Theatre

The Minack Theatre in Cornwall, pictured prior to the coronavirus pandemic. Credit: PA

Almost 20 jobs could be lost at Cornwall’s spectacular open-air Minack Theatre.

Bosses at the Porthcurno venue have started redundancy consultations with 19 members of staff.

Manager Zoe Curnow said cutbacks were required because the theatre has only been able to operate at just 30% capacity since reopening in July.

She said the Minack stands to lose more than half-a-million pounds this year, despite making a surplus in July.

Inscribed seats at the Minack, where 19 members of staff are facing redundancy. Credit: PA

“Sadly, we are in consultation about redundancies with about 19 employees who would usually work year-round,” she said.

While we made a small financial surplus in July, it is nowhere near the level we would usually generate, which helps support us through the quiet winter months.

Zoe Curnow

“We also cannot open our indoor café under social distancing guidelines and will not be able to easily while social distancing is a requirement. 

“As it looks like this will continue potentially into 2021, we have decided to refurbish the café ready to reopen it in March 2021. 

“This means that there will be no work for the team who traditionally work in this building through the winter.”

The Minack reopened to the public last month, but has been operating at just 30% capacity.

Ms Curnow explained they decided to announce the job losses now, during the summer, to help staff find other work.

“We decided to finalise this now as there are other jobs currently available locally,” she said.

“None of our employees will be made redundant before September 30, however we are allowing them to take work elsewhere, which we have been encouraging all furloughed staff to do since April, and will not require them to come back off furlough before their leave date.”

But with the furlough scheme due to end in October, Ms Curnow warned of the long-term risks facing businesses in the West Country.

“We have no work for these employees from November 1 to March 2021 and there will be no furlough scheme to help us support them,” she added.

“We also don’t know at what level we may be able to operate in 2021 so it may well be that we do not need as many employees going forward, particularly if social distancing does continue through 2021.”

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