The Plough Arts Centre has warned it is likely to have to make some staff redundant as it continues to struggle with the coronavirus shutdown.

The Great Torrington charity’s chairman, John Eeles, announced today (Monday, July 20) that trustees had been forced to issue ‘warning of redundancy’ notices to staff.

The Plough had to close on March 17 and along with many other arts organisations, its income collapsed overnight.

A statement said despite some emergency government funding, the ending of the furlough scheme on October 31 plus ‘no likely safe reopening date in sight’ had left trustees with no option but to issue the redundancy warning.

Director Richard Wolfenden-Brown said: “Having just recovered from financial challenges earlier in the year, it was devastating to be suddenly forced to close.

“As most of our income is generated through the box office we have been disproportionately impacted by closure.

“Other arts organisations who are lucky enough to enjoy regular core funding from district, county and arts council, have been more able to survive the temporary closure of their premises, though clearly the vast majority of arts charities are struggling at present.

“Despite the current crisis we are determined to make sure The Plough survives and warmly welcome all offers of help, of any kind, to make that a reality. We will be back!”

The charity said there will be a period of statutory consultation with staff while alternatives to redundancy were explored, but it was likely there would be some redundancies.

There is some good news – The Plough has been able to organise a series of open air theatre events at North Devon venues on 15 dates from August to September.

Details and tickets will be available shortly via the Plough website.

Mr Eeles is also asking for audiences to give their views on the venue. He said: “Plough audiences and participants can help us by telling us when they will be happy to return to the venue. That is vital information.

“A short survey is waiting for your valued comments on our website and we will be emailing the link to those on our emailing list.”

For outdoor theatre information and to complete the survey, go to www.theploughartscentre.org.uk.