The top theatre in Leicester is closing temporarily because of financial problems.
The Haymarket Theatre will close until next year
The decision to close the Haymarket Theatre came after an emergency board meeting on Monday night.
The theatre, which has debts of £450,000, will consult staff about the closure.
The current programme of plays and activity continues as advertised until the end of July.
The theatre will reopen for public performances in 2004.
A Leicester City Council statement said: "We recognise that the Haymarket Theatre has a national reputation and is a real asset to the city.
"It is vital that we continue to work closely with them over the next few months to help them overcome their present difficulties."
A Haymarket spokesperson said: "During this temporary closure, a reduced core staff will operate from the Haymarket Theatre to develop new projects, deliver educational, participatory and specially-funded work."
It will also plan for the opening of the new performing arts centre, which will open in 2006.
The spokesperson said a 60-day consultation period has started with staff and union representatives.
A spokesman for the Bectu union says staff are shocked at the news, adding that it will be a loss for the whole city.