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Our sleeping theatre will look a bit different this evening. That’s because we’re part of the #LightItInRed campaign. Tonight, along with theatres, arts and music venues up and down the country, we’ll be lighting our building in red to raise awareness to the current plight of the UK events industry due to the Covid crisis.

Since early March, the events industry has been mostly without work. All kinds of major events are currently prohibited due to the COVID-19 crisis, leaving an entire industry dormant, with over 25,000 businesses and over half a million workers throughout the UK directly suffering the ill effects.

By lighting our buildings red, we are drawing attention to this desperate situation and making a statement that can’t be ignored. We were the first ones out, and will be the last ones back in.


York Theatre Royal has been closed since Tuesday 17 March. Many pubs, restaurants, cinemas and hotels reopened at the weekend and the city is getting busier. However, our theatre remains closed, and currently we have no clear time frame from the government about when we can open our doors once more.

We have been working very hard behind the scenes to ensure we come roaring back with an epic programme for all the community to enjoy.

However, we are in a perilous position. Since March, we have lost over half a million pounds in expected income. Just 11% of our annual income comes from state funding, the rest is made up by our audiences – the thousands of people who come to be entertained and inspired by us every year. We need your help if we are to continue to do this.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us so far. Your loyalty is so appreciated, and more important than ever. We are pursuing all possible sources of funding, including government support, but we ask that you join the many who have already supported us by donating to York Theatre Royal, if you are able.

Donate online, by text or cheque, or become a Member



This is a difficult time for our building, but it is an incredibly difficult time for the freelancers who make up such an important part of our theatre family. Many have fallen through the cracks of government support and face real uncertainty about if and how they will be able to continue to work in theatre. 70% of people who work in theatre and performance in the UK are freelance or self-employed, and it’s for this workforce, in all its diversity and complexity, that the impact of the current situation is most acute.

Our freelance family are very much in our thoughts and plans for the future.


If you pass our red-lit building this evening, please take a photo and share it on social media. Remember to tag York Theatre Royal and use the hashtag #LightItInRed.

Thank you for your support. All our love, the York Theatre Royal team x