Crunch talks were due to be being held today in a bid to save jobs at Birmingham's Midlands Arts Centre following a warning it cannot survive without cash support.
The future of jobs at the centre in Cannon Hill Park, Edgbaston, which attracts more than 500,000 visitors a year, has been thrown into turmoil after a briefing to staff on its perilous financial state.
The briefing warns of a "significant reduction in the number of job roles" – and says it needs pledges of future support from Birmingham City Council and the Arts Council.
"Without that commitment and support, Mac will be unable to survive," says the briefing note.
The centre currently employs about 170 people including part-time and casual staff. Emergency talks wre set to be held today between theatre union Bectu and mac management in a bid to save as many jobs as possible at the centre, a mainstay of the Birmingham arts scene for more than 40 years.
The complex is due to close next April for an 18-month refurbishment costing #13.5 million, triggering a warning of "significant" job losses during the "proposed off-site period".
But the briefing says the cost of maintenance and urgent repair work and a "disappointing" summer exacerbated by the floods has hit the centre hard.
Bectu's national official for the Midlands Lynne Korniak said: "There is concern for our members there and we will be looking to save as many jobs as possible."
One member of staff, who asked not to be named, said: "Staff morale and productivity at Mac is at an all-time low because we are being kept in the dark over our futures.
"Senior management need to come clean about their intentions regarding what they intend doing about our long-term jobs. The workers need and deserve answers."
Mac director Dorothy Wilson said: "We are currently working closely with our Board, and funders, in planning the off-site operation which will take place whilst building works are underway and are considering carefully how this might impact on staff at mac."
The Edgbaston centre celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2003. It offers a vast range of arts activities, from puppetry to poetry, films, fashion, dance and drama.