Theatres in crisis due to coronavirus

The theatre sector has been devastated by the pandemic and sadly a number of theatre operators have ceased trading or withdrawn from their operating contracts.

Losing ticketing revenue completely, theatres are now reliant on dwindling reserves, donations and emergency funding to survive.

Unfortunately, we’ve already seen several operators go into administration or withdraw from their operating contracts and more are likely to follow. To date, these are the theatres that are now without an operator due to coronavirus:

Clair Hall, Haywards Heath - Mid Sussex District Council agreed to remove Clair Hall from its leisure contract with Places Leisure in August and is now recommending its permanent closure. It is the only venue in the area and hosts around 40 live performances a year along with a range of community uses. So far no replacement venue is being proposed.

Key Theatre, Peterborough - In June Vivacity, the charity that operates Peterborough's culture, leisure and heritage venues, announced that it will terminate its contract with the City Council. This leaves the Key Theatre vacant without an operator.

Leicester Haymarket Theatre – Haymarket Consortium, who reopened the theatre in 2018, went into administration in late May and the lease has been handed back to Leicester City Council, which owns the building. Having only been operating for short time meant the organisation had not built up enough reserves to weather the coronavirus crisis. Originally opening in 1973, the theatre closed in 2007 when the operators moved to the new Curve.

Southport Theatre and Convention Centre – Bliss Space (Southport) Ltd, who had been running the venue on a three-year caretaker basis, went into administration in mid-May due to coronavirus. Southport Theatre was added to the  1930s Floral Hall complex in 1973 and had served as a theatre, concert hall and conference centre.

Nuffield Theatres, Southampton - Southampton Nuffield Theatre Trust went into administration in May 2020. The trust operated NST City (a city-centre venue consisting of a 450-seat main theatre and 133-seat studio) and NST Campus (a 500-seat auditorium on the university campus). In September it was confirmed that Mayflower Theatre had been successful in its bid to take over the city building, Studio 144.

Artrix – the arts centre in Bromsgrove was the first theatre to go into administration, ceasing trading in early April 2020. Having been funded by the local authority for its first 10 years, its grant funding was cut in 2018, leaving the venue in a fragile financial situation that meant it was unable to survive when theatres closed in March.

Theatres Trust in its remit to protect the UK’s theatres for future generations has contacted stakeholders regarding these theatres, including building freeholders, local authorities and people campaigning on behalf of their beloved local theatre to offer advice to ensure that the building can be retained for cultural use.

If your local theatre appears on this list and you want help to protect it, please get in touch via


Key Theatre
Leicester Haymarket Theatre
NST City