Opening of the Shakespeare Theatre at Blenheim Palace Picture: Ed Nix
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SHAKESPEARE’S Rose Theatre is set to go into liquidation after a summer at Blenheim Palace, blaming Brexit for low audience numbers.
A spokesperson for the company, run by Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, told York paper The Press that it had suffered ‘unsustainable losses’ from its seasons in York and in Oxfordshire.
The company brought the 900-capacity pop-up theatre to Blenheim’s grounds between July and September, with audiences enjoying a rolling programme of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo & Juliet, Richard III and Macbeth.
The spokesperson said the productions this year were ‘greeted with great acclaim by audiences and critics alike,’ but added: “With much sadness and regret, a board meeting has been held to start the liquidation process for Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre.
“Sadly, due to Brexit and the economic and political uncertainty this has created, the anticipated audience numbers needed to sustain a project of this scale were not achieved.”
Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre started in York in 2018 and attracted 78,000 visitors, but only 47,000 attended in 2019.
At Blenheim just 38,000 people attended – much less than the 75,000 that was anticipated.
The spokesperson said the directors of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions are taking professional advice.
West Oxfordshire District Council granted planning permission for the pop-up theatre in January, despite one councillor branding it ‘hideous to look at.’
Council officers revealed Blenheim had already started marketing the theatre before realising they had to gain planning permission.