Theater group ITA cancels performances due to a lack of staff

The International Theater Amsterdam (ITA) is canceling some of its performances in the coming months due to excessive workload. The theater company announced this on Thursday. The ITA is struggling with a shortage of personnel, especially among technicians.

In February, all performances of The Magic Mountain deleted; the play will go on a nationwide tour in January Doors and the live stream performances of The Year of Cancer not trough. Some guest productions and other activities that were to take place during the spring have also been cancelled. In total, the ITA will therefore be doing about 15 percent less than planned in the coming months.

Vacancies

The company has 16 vacancies, mainly for technical positions. In total, ITA, the largest subsidized theater company in the Netherlands, employs 177 people, including 46 technicians.

According to the management, the decision was “not taken lightly”. “It affects employees, guest players, ticket buyers, stages and guest companies,” ITA writes in a press release. But due to the interventions, the company can at least “guarantee the other planning of productions and programming in the current season”.

The company says it is suffering from the general shortage on the labor market after the corona crisis. “A number of our employees have left and started working in other sectors,” said an ITA spokesperson. “We will continue to look for new people,” he says, when asked about possible solutions for the shortage. It is “much too early” for the structural cancellation of activities, according to the spokesperson.

Strike

Earlier this year there was already dissatisfaction within the ITA about the high workload. In April the premiere of The Magic Mountain (after Thomas Mann’s 1924 book of the same name) canceled after production technicians went on strike due to the workload. During a try-out, a technical employee became unwell. Others then decided to stop working in solidarity.

After the postponed premiere, the production with actors Maarten Heijmans and Pierre Bokma was played four more times in the spring; after that it had to be stopped. Performances were scheduled to resume in February; that is not happening now.

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Opposite The Volkskrant, which was investigating the strike, said staff had been complaining about long hours and continued high workloads for years. Already in 2019, technicians sent an urgent letter to the management.

After the strike last spring and the reports about it, the theater company conducted an internal investigation. The company now writes that a number of recommendations have now been implemented, such as adjusting work schedules. Technicians were also given more preparation time per production.

According to the ITA spokesperson, there are now no more “work-related sick reports” among technicians. Technicians who suffered from burnout in the spring have recovered or started work elsewhere.

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