The popular Shakespeare hosted annually in Prescott has announced the postponement of their 2020 season.
In a statement released to the media, the company said:
Following restrictions released by the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario and the Town of Prescott regarding the COVID-19 global pandemic, we at The St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival are heartbroken to announce the postponement of our 2020 season.
A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Fantasticks were originally set to open on July 10th, 2020 at the Kinsmen Amphitheatre in Prescott, Ontario, in collaboration with our partner the Town of Prescott and with support from the Ontario Arts Council.
Richard Sheridan Willis, the Festival's Artistic Director, says: "We truly regret that these amazing stories and artistic visions will not be shared with our audiences this year - our 18th season. This was an upsetting decision to make but the only option available to us in the current circumstances. The health and safety of our artists, audience and community are paramount at this time. This, together with the considerable work needed to prepare for our celebrated rep season and the significant costs involved, presents too great a risk during a time of such upheaval and uncertainty. Our goal is to ensure that we continue to be one of Ontario's top outdoor summer theatre companies and to be here to serve our community in the future."
The Festival's plan is to program these exciting productions as part of their 2021 season. The company still hopes to stage the popular community musical of Mary Poppins in the Fall of 2020 depending on circumstances prevailing at that time.
If you have purchased 2020 tickets or Friendship Passes, you can choose from a range of options including credit toward the 2021 season, donation opportunities, and refunds; full details are here. If you are able, please consider a donation of those funds. This postponement will be a significant blow to the 2020 season; however, we plan to make lemonade from this lemon by utilizing continued patron donations to help cover the costs of preparing for an even more stupendous 2021 season and keeping SLSF running in its scaled-back capacity.
We at the Festival would like to say thank you to all the organizations and individuals who have been working alongside us to present a 2020 Season. They include our sponsors, donors, business partners, and all our valued supporters.
We also feel the disappointment and concern of our actors, stage management and creative team who were planning to share their talents with us this summer. We hope these wonderful artists will all rejoin us in 2021.
To all those who value and love our Festival, staged on the banks of the historic St. Lawrence River, we promise to be working tirelessly to present a vibrant and exciting season in 2021 and - if conditions allow - a marvellous community version of Mary Poppins this fall. Storytelling, music and theatre are a vital part of our community. They bring us together in a way that nothing else can!
We look forward to delivering these to you once more when the shadow of COVID-19 has lifted.
Thank you for your support,
All of us at the St Lawrence Shakespeare Festival