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THE SCOOP | Cancellations Follow Provincial Audience Restrictions In Response To Omicron

By Anya Wassenberg on December 21, 2021

Princess of Wales Theatre (Photo: Sam Chan/Creative Commons)
Princess of Wales Theatre (Photo: Sam Chan/Creative Commons)

With the new omicron variant taking hold, and resulting restrictions back in place for audiences in Ontario, many arts organizations are putting plans on hold.

Earlier in December, Mirvish announced the cast for its much anticipated North American première of Tom Stoppard’s Leopoldstadt. With theatre audiences now restricted to 50% capacity, Mirvish has announced the cancellation of its production, which had been scheduled for the Princess of Wales Theatre between Jan. 22 and March 13.

“I always knew the financial risks involved in bringing this extraordinary production here, and I was happy to take them if it meant that Leopoldstadt could be seen by Toronto audiences. That’s how much I believe in the power of this very special play,” David Mirvish said in a statement.

“By programming it in 2022, almost two years from the start of the pandemic, we thought we would be protected from the vagaries of COVID-19 and would be able to present the play in Toronto in a relatively safe environment.”

Mirvish still hopes to bring Leopoldstadt to Toronto at some point in the future.

Other cancellations & changes

  • The National Ballet of Canada announced in a Facebook post that, due to the 50% capacity restriction, The Nutcracker was sold out, and in fact, some existing tickets will likely have to be cancelled.

“Performing at 50% capacity for a full season of performances at the Four Seasons Centre is not economically viable in any circumstance,” said National Ballet of Canada Executive Director Barry Hughson in a statement to the Toronto Star. “A ‘normal’ season sees average attendance at 85% to achieve a break-even budget.”

  • The Elora’s Singers sold out in-person concerts on Dec. 21 & 22 were cancelled due to the omicron variant, but their holiday concert will be available to view online until January 7.
  • After a company member tested positive for COVID-19, the Shaw Festival cancelled all remaining productions of Holiday Inn, the highly reviewed musical.

In most cases, existing ticket holders will be contacted by the company in question.

A sign of the times…

…It’s not only in Ontario or even North America that audiences are feeling a seasonal COVID pinch. From London to New York, shows are being cancelled on a scale that brings up memories of winter 2020’s lockdown.

“At the end of the day, we’ll follow the science, and the science will say, ‘You need to shut down this performance,’” Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin told The Associated Press on December 16. “We anticipated that because they were telling us all along that if more people didn’t get their shots, that new variants would arrive and new variants would have cases. And guess what? It’s called omicron.”

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