SHAKESPEARE'S Rose Theatre looks set not to return to York next year after it was revealed the company has started a liquidation process.

A spokesperson said the company has suffered "unsustainable losses" from its recent seasons in York and at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.

The company has brought a pop-up theatre to York's Castle Car Park below Clifford’s Tower for the past two summers.

The spokesperson commented: "With much sadness and regret, a board meeting has been held to start the liquidation process for Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre."

The productions staged this year "were greeted with great acclaim by audiences and critics alike," the spokesperson said.

"Sadly, due to Brexit and the economic and political uncertainty this has created, the anticipated audience numbers needed to sustain a project of this scale were not achieved."

In 2018, Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre in York attracted 78,000 visitors but achieved only 47,000 in 2019. At Blenheim Palace only 38,000 people attended, whereas a figure of 75,000 was anticipated.

The spokesperson said the directors of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions "are taking professional advice," and added that "Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland and Thors Bars Ltd are unaffected."

At the end of August, a spokeswoman for organisers Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, said: "It has however been a challenging season due to both adverse weather conditions and consumers’ current political concerns around Brexit and the economy."

She added: "York is the home of Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre and we’ll be returning in some form or another next year and will be taking a closer look following the end of this season."

However, it would appear now that the theatre will not be returning to York next year.

The four plays performed in York this year were Hamlet, Henry V, The Tempest and Twelfth Night.

James Cundall, chief executive of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, which has its head office in Welburn, near Malton, was awarded an MBE for services to the entertainment industry in the 2019 New Year Honours list.

He was crowned Tourism Champion at the Visit York Tourism Awards in June, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to tourism and culture in York and as the driving force behind Shakespeare's Rose Theatre.

Meanwhile, Shakespeare's Rose Theatre also scooped two other Visit York awards - Newcomer of the Year and Innovation in Tourism. This followed double success in the York Culture Awards where the Rose Theatre won Best Cultural Experience and Outstanding Cultural Collaboration (with York Theatre Royal for their productions of Macbeth and A Midsummer Night's Dream).