COVID-19 has had a major impact on many businesses, and theatres across the country are facing financial difficulties.
The Spotlight, which has been closed since lockdown began, is no different and it will unfortunately have to have a delayed reopening until it becomes financially viable.
The Council’s finances have been dramatically impacted by the pandemic. Income has dropped significantly and therefore a corresponding reduction in expenditure has to be found.
Despite being a popular venue, the Spotlight costs local council tax payers over £150,000 a year to run, even after ticket, food and beverage sales. Theatres are not allowed to fully open under current government rules and if all the staff were to be retained during the enforced closure, the cost to tax payers would rise to more than £350,000. Retaining the staff when the venue is unable to trade is therefore not sustainable.
Consequently, it is with regret that the Council has been forced to advise the staff at the Spotlight that their jobs are at risk of redundancy.
Leader of the Council, Councillor Lewis Cocking said:
I have attended many enjoyable events at the Spotlight - it is a much loved venue and an asset to the Borough. Knowing it will not reopen until the autumn of 2021 is a blow to its regular customers and all those who have worked so hard to try to make it a success.
Not being able to reopen as quickly as expected is very disappointing and losing valued members of staff is never something that the Council takes lightly. Unfortunately, tough decisions need to be made during these unprecedented times to ensure the stability of the Council’s finances. It is with great sadness that this decision has been made. I look forward to being able to visit the Spotlight again in the future when it is viable to reopen it.
It is anticipated that the Spotlight will be able to reopen to the public in autumn 2021 when it should be possible to host a full range of events and entertainment.