Row over Cumbernauld Theatre redundancies

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Cumbernauld and Kilsyth MSP Jamie Hepburn has voiced his concern over planned job losses due to Cumbernauld Theatre’s relocation to new premises next year.

Cumbernauld Theatre Trust confirmed it will ‘go dark’ for eight months at the conclusion of this year’s pantomime.

This is to facilitate the move to a new performing arts centre on the campus of Cumbernauld Academy in the autumn of 2020.

A number of workers, in particular, box office, bar staff and ushers positions have been told they will not be needed during that eight month period.

The News & Chronicle understands staff were unaware the theatre would be closed for so long and were only told two days before Cinderella took to the stage.

Mr Hepburn has now written to the company and sought a meeting with the management to discuss these planned proposals.

He said: “Although there is much to be excited about with the opening of the new facility, I am very concerned about the impact of these planned redundancies on those affected.

“Should they go ahead then I know that the Scottish Government’s Partnership Action for Continuing Employment service will stand ready to assist.

“I have written to Cumbernauld Theatre seeking to meet with them to understand why they have issued these redundancies and to see if there are things that could be explored to avoid them.

“I believe that the future of the theatre depends on having a strong and committed workforce, and these redundancies seem to undermine that.”

Meawhile the theatre’s executive director Sarah Price released this statement last week.

This stated :”In light of the fact that the Company will ‘go- dark’ for 8 months, it is with regret that the Board are looking to make a number of operational posts redundant.

“Senior Managers are currently undertaking a consultation process with staff.

“In particular, box office, bar staff and ushers positions are being reviewed as these posts are not needed for the next eight months.

“The charity will retain and re-deploy as many staff as possible to manage the charity’s move to the new venue and prepare for the opening in September 2020.

Meanwhile, North Lanarkshire Council has confirmed a decision still has to be made on how much the theatre will pay in rent when the move does finally take place.

A spokesperson said: “We are currently working on creating a sustainable operating model which suits the needs of Cumbernauld Theatre, Cumbernauld Academy as well as the wider community.

“The financial position for both the council and the theatre has changed considerably since the original plans to build a new theatre were first announced and we need to put in place viable, long-term, arrangements.

“As we are still working through all the details it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage, but we remain positive of the significant cultural and educational benefits that the new theatre will bring.”