Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre has become the latest casualty of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic with the venue closed and 14 staff made redundant.
The Hanover Street theatre has been in the hands of administrators FRP since December 2017. It had continued trading until the coronavirus lockdown in March this year.
Now FRP has revealed that the ongoing lockdown, and uncertainty over when live performances may be able to resume, has left the theatre unable to function and the difficult decision has been made to shut down the business.
It is hoped it will be able to reopen in the future under new management.
In the meantime, shows which were due to take place in 2020 have been cancelled and people who had bought tickets are being contacted.
Lila Thomas, joint administrator and partner at FRP, said today: “Regrettably, the well-documented impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the performing arts sector left us with no option but to close the Epstein Theatre, which resulted in 14 members of staff being made redundant.
“With no foreseeable end to the lockdown restrictions on theatres, and therefore no prospect of being able to generate income through performances, the business was no longer able to meet its obligations when they fell due.
“Support was provided to affected staff through what was a difficult situation and the site has now been returned to Liverpool City Council.”
The grade II listed theatre building, which started life in 1913 as Crane’s Music Hall, is owned by the city.
A council spokesman said today: “Following the administrators’ decision to close the private business which operated the theatre, the city council is in negotiation with interested parties to see how the theatre can be brought back to life once it is safe to do so.
“Due to the global health pandemic, the venue like other theatres and concert halls will remain closed to the public, and the council will use this time to carry out essential repairs.
“The council is saddened that some staff have lost their jobs as a result of this process. The new operators will be encouraged to re-employ former staff where possible.”
The Epstein Theatre was pushed into administration in December 2017 after a financial crisis created by the theft of £273,000 from funds by its then assistant manager Kelvin Lloyd.
Lloyd was jailed for two years and four months in April 2019.