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THE SCOOP | National Ballet Cancels Holiday Nutcracker In Wake Of COVID Upswing

By Michael Vincent on December 22, 2021


After a two-year hiatus, The Nutcracker represented a return to holiday traditions at the National Ballet of Canada.

That return is short-lived, as the National Ballet has announced they have cancelled all remaining performances through December 31, 2021.

“All our ticketholders have been notified, and they will all receive options, including a full refund and keeping their tickets for Nutcracker 2022,” a statement said.

According to the National ballet, the cancelled due to breakthrough cases of COVID-19 within the company ranks.

“It is an incredibly difficult decision to cancel the remaining performances of The Nutcracker, for both the company and artists but also for our audiences as we know it is such a big part of many holiday traditions,” said Hughson. “However, our first and foremost priority has always been the health and safety of all and although this news is not unexpected, we are deeply saddened to have to cancel the beloved holiday favourite mid-run.”

The 50% capacity limits for all indoor sports and entertainment venues with 1000+ seats across Ontario were also a factor in the decision.

The downside of capacity limits

While venues can quickly adapt to the logistics of capacity limits by blocking off seats, a 50% capacity limit also means a 50% reduction in revenue for a production. This reduction can remove the financial upside for arts producers, who have increasingly relied on the uptick from holiday programming to help fund the rest of their seasons.

The Nutcracker is the bread and butter for North American ballet companies,” said Barry Hughson, executive director of The National Ballet of Canada.

“Our core business is live performance, there’s nothing that replaces it,” he added.

Another factor to consider is that producers are already hurting due to two years of government-mandated shutdowns. While capacity limits may offer a way to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 variants, the downside is that they obstruct vulnerable organizations’ ability to generate revenue.

What to do if you already have a ticket

The National Ballet has sent out an email outlining details with multiple options:

  • Full refund
  • Put your funds on account to be used for a future performance in 2022 or 2023
  • Exchange your tickets for The Nutcracker in 2022 and receive priority seating
  • Receive a charitable tax receipt in the amount of your tickets


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Michael Vincent
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