Mass layoffs at Royal Theatre

With the loss of 100 positions artistic output will suffer, theater boss says

Greater CopenhagenÂ’s arts scene is about to take a heavy blow in the form of mass layoffs at the Royal Theatre, Politiken newspaper reports.

According to the paper, 100 employees of the Royal Theatre will lose their jobs on Thursday. That accounts for ten percent of the theatreÂ’s total staff.

The layoffs follow a November agreement made with the government that forces the Royal Theatre to make cost-cutting measures to the tune of nearly 100 million kroner over the next four years.

The cuts will eliminate 60 administrative and technical positions, 35 artistic positions, and five leadership positions.

According to Byron Mildwater, a ballet dancer and a spokesperson for the Royal Theatre, the job losses will affect the theatreÂ’s artistic output.

“It will mean, for example, that we can no longer perform the large ballets like ‘The Nutcracker’ or ‘Swan Lake’,” Mildwater told Politiken. “There will simply not be enough swans to dance in the large ballets that we are world-renowned for. It will markedly reduce the quality of our company.”

In addition to having fewer dancers, the theatre will also have fewer productions for them to dance in, as the job cuts are being accompanied by a reduction in the number of performances the Royal Theatre will offer. In 2012, at least three large productions will be cut from the line-up.

Lars Pallesen, a member of the Royal TheatreÂ’s board of directors, confirmed the coming layoffs to Politiken, saying they were the only way to make the necessary spending cuts.

“If we could have found the money other places besides layoffs, we would have done it,” he told the paper.

Erik Jacobsen, the head of the Royal Theatre, acknowledged that the theatreÂ’s art would suffer as a result of the cuts.

“You can’t remove so much money from a theatre’s budget without having it affect the artistic value,” Jacobsen told Politiken.

The Royal Theatre signed a political agreement on November 16 with the Socialdemokraterne – Radikale – Socialistisk Folkeparti  (SRSF) government and the other five parties in parliament that laid out the terms of a four-year savings plan.