Ontario Independent

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

New limits to combat the Omicron variant have caused theatres in Ontario to cancel shows

Theatres in Ontario have cancelled shows.

Key takeaways:

  • As a result of the Omicron variant, there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases in Ontario.
  • The decision forced venues across the province to scramble to change ticketed events that were already sold out.

As Ontario production companies deal with an increase in COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant, a wave of show cancellations is sweeping through Toronto’s theatre district and beyond.

The North American premiere of Mirvish Productions’ eagerly anticipated Tom Stoppard play “Leopoldstadt” at the Princess of Wales Theatre in early 2022 has been canceled, the company announced Sunday.

The show was supposed to start on January 22 and run until March 13.

The critically acclaimed “Hamilton” musical has been postponed until July 12 at the National Arts Centre’s Southam Hall in Ottawa.

Also read: Here is a list of all the new COVID-19 restrictions in Ontario

Broadway Across Canada, the touring company, said the decision was made in response to stricter capacity limits. It hoped all ticket holders would keep their seats by rescheduling the shows for next summer.

The cancellations join a growing number of live theatre and concert shows that have opted to cancel upcoming performances out of an abundance of caution rather than following the latest health guidelines’ capacity restrictions.

To help slow the spread of Omicron, Premier Doug Ford announced on Friday that large indoor venues, such as live theatres and concert halls, would be subject to 50% capacity limits.

The decision forced venues across the province to scramble to change ticketed events that were already sold out. Some chose to refund some ticketholders, while others decided to cancel all shows, claiming that the new requirements would make it impossible to break even.

David Mirvish issued a report regarding the cancellation of “Leopoldstadt,” saying that he was always aware that bringing the show to Toronto would be financially risky but that the “sudden arrival” of the variant “made it impossible” to proceed.

“I was happy to take them if it meant that Toronto audiences could see ‘Leopoldstadt.'” “That’s how much I believe in the power of this one-of-a-kind production,” he said.

“By scheduling it for 2022, almost two years after the pandemic began, we hoped to be protected from COVID-19’s whims and be able to present the play in Toronto in a relatively safe environment.”

However, he said that capacity constraints and the federal government’s non-essential travel advisory have complicated logistics due to looming border closures and quarantines.

As a result of new Omicron restrictions, theatres in Ontario have cancelled shows
As a result of new Omicron restrictions, theatres in Ontario have cancelled shows. Image from CBC

“More importantly, the health risks associated with bringing a company of more than 30 artists from the United Kingdom are far too great at a time when the pandemic is more uncertain than it has ever been,” Mirvish said.

“However, I’m not abandoning ‘Leopoldstadt.'” When it is safe to do so, I am determined to present this magnificent play in Toronto.”

Meanwhile, after a cast member tested positive for COVID-19, the Shaw Festival canceled all remaining performances of the musical “Holiday Inn.”

In a statement, the theatre company said, “Our thoughts are with everyone involved in ‘Holiday Inn,’ especially those who are now required to isolate while awaiting clearance from Niagara Region Public Health.”

On Friday, the Barenaked Ladies declared that all remaining performances of “Hometown Holidays with Barenaked Ladies” at the Mirvish-operated CAA Theatre in Toronto had been canceled.

“After talking to doctors, friends, and experts, we feel like playing these shows at a time when we should all be limiting our gatherings and exposure would be irresponsible,” said lead singer Ed Robertson.

“I despise it, and I’m sure you despise it as well,” he added.

Source: Global News

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