Symphony Hall slashes staff

Symphony Hall slashes staff


norman lebrecht

July 14, 2020

The Guardian reports 50 percent staff cuts at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall and Town Hall.

Official statement: ‘It is with great sadness that Town Hall and Symphony Hall have entered a period of redundancy consultation. The future of these two iconic concert halls looks very different from the plans we began the year with. This period of closure has already resulted in huge losses and it is still unclear when it may be possible to reopen.’




  • Allen says:

    “And there’s a straight line connecting Paul Robeson [the singer, actor and activist] appearing at Town Hall in 1949 to us taking grime artists out of clubs and putting them on the same stage,”

    A matter of opinion.

    • Ellen says:

      What’s the matter with you? Paul Robeson was a fine singer and fully deserved to be on the town hall stage.

      • Allen says:

        Read the quote before leaping to conclusions.

        I agree that PR was a fine singer, which is why I challenged the “straight line” connection to grime.

        And yes, I have heard it.

        • Bruce says:

          I read the quote and didn’t see a connection made between the kinds of music, but rather between the social progressiveness that led to both artists/ types of artist appearing on that stage: somebody had to agree to book them.

          (P.S. I never heard of “grime” before; no idea what it sounds like or who performs it)

    • Maria says:

      A very twisted, insensitive and stupid comment, Allen! There are people’s livelihoods at stake here with redundancies in 2020.

      • Allen says:

        The usual sanctimonious BS. I’m not disputing the redundancies but I was commenting on the wisdom of the hall promoting grime. Have you heard it?

  • Ian J Munro says:

    Worrying times for these great halls. With the LPO and Philharmonia cancelling the first months of their winter season culture could be very thin on the ground. Very sad times.

  • Rob says:

    What with, a knife ?

  • Derek says:

    This is awful news even given these difficult times.

    Cannot jobs be saved by using some of the recent £1.57 billion support package announced by the Culture Secretary?

    The article says that Nick Reed and the Birmingham theatre executives are all seeking clarity on funding and timescales urgently. I hope they get a quick response and that there is some positive outcome.

    Is there anything practical that colleagues and supporters can do to help?

  • Robert King says:

    For those who haven’t read the Guardian article, the final paragraph is alarming for anyone who works in UK Arts:

    Fiona Allan … president of UK Theatre, said: “We have no news at all about reopening dates and so everyone has to make drastic decisions about staffing. My fear is that people we’re losing are not going to work in this sector any more. They are saying goodbye to theatre. There are 290,000 people employed across theatre in the UK. We reckon 70% of those jobs are at some sort of risk.”

  • Ronald Shillingford says:

    The arts have suffered dreadfully due partly to the current situation. I do not see the goverment stepping in to help . Symphony Hall & Town Hall which I know well as I am from Birmingham. Is undergoing a massive refurbishment of the foyer and huge amounts of funding went into this work not completed yet. So this latest revelation should not come as a surprise . According to the CEO they are doing this in order to keep the buildings open.