Guthrie Theater reducing staff by 79% while performances are on hold

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The Guthrie Theater announced it is reducing its staff by 79% amid budget cuts attributed to the coronavirus pandemic.

When the theater halted production in March, it employed 262 full-time and part-time staff members. In a news release, Joseph Haj, the Guthrie Theater's artistic director, said the theater could only retain 55 employees until it resumes stage performances. All other employees were either laid off, or their positions were permanently eliminated.

Members of the theater's senior management team will continue to be paid reduced salaries as well, Haj said.

"Being unable to perform for so long is financially devastating," Haj said in a statement. "It is this significant challenge, and the resultant change in programming, that necessitates both short-term and long-term layoffs as well as the elimination of positions. It is with a heavy heart that we share the loss of so many talented, creative, hardworking and beloved colleagues.” 

Earlier this month, the theater announced plans to reopen for a truncated, three-play season in March 2021. The season was originally set to begin in September and consist of 10 plays. The Guthrie Theater also planned to cut its 2020-21 budget by 60%.