VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A beloved summer Shakespeare festival on Vancouver’s waterfront has been cancelled for the first time in its 30-year run due to COVID-19.
The 2020 Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival was set to run from June 10 – September 26.
The cancellation was announced Monday because organizers could not see a way to proceed amid the pandemic.
“Our team has spent the past month in an intensive exploration of what might be possible for our season, given the impact of COVID-19,” said Founding Artistic Director Christopher Gaze and Executive Director Claire Sakaki in a joint statement.
“It has now become clear to us that if we stage a Festival in the Park this summer, we won’t be able to ensure the health and well-being of all those people who would gather together at our site and in turn, be in contact with others. And so, we have made the deeply painful decision to cancel our Season. We know the impact it will have on so many people we care about – and we are heartsick about that – but we are sure that we are making the responsible and necessary choice.”
We have now made the painful decision to cancel our 2020 Season. We’re focused on the health and well-being of our community and we believe cancellation is our best response to COVID-19.
— bardonthebeach (@bardonthebeach) April 6, 2020
The cancellation represents a major blow to the non-profit that stages the festival, as the bulk of its budget is funded through ticket sales.
“We know that the cancellation of our full slate of over 200 performances will have a significant financial impact on the livelihoods of the people who rely on us for a large portion of their annual income – as well as on our organization. We are deeply troubled by those facts. But we believe we must make the decision to cancel – and make it now – for the safety of all and for the longer-term financial health of our company,” the statement reads.
Anyone who has already purchased tickets can get a refund, but the company says it plans to stage the same lineup of shows including A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Henry V in 2021.