For the first time in its 29-year history, Peterborough-area outdoor theatre company 4th Line Theatre has cancelled its season due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The company, based in nearby Millbrook, Ont., announced Tuesday morning that following a meeting on Monday, the board of directors decided to move both productions scheduled for 2020 to summer 2021.
The company was scheduled to stage The Great Shadow, written by Alex Poch-Goldin and directed by Deb Williams, in June. In August, the company was to present the premiere of Maja Ardal’s Wishful Seeing, directed by 4th Line’s managing artistic director, Kim Blackwell.
In a letter and email Tuesday, Blackwell stated it was a difficult decision and says she held out hope to move forward with a partial season this year.
‘Unfortunately, that is not going to be able to happen and the safety of our staff and audience is the paramount concern for us here at 4th Line Theatre,” she said. “If everything goes well, we will see you all in 2021, when the world has righted itself, when we can once again gather together in celebration and our love of stories.”
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All tickets and gift certificates already purchased for 2020 will be honoured in the 2021 season, Blackwell noted.
Blackwell says small groups will still be welcomed to the Winslow Farm at 779 Zion Line, and some initiatives are expected to be announced in the coming days and weeks.
“We will continue to connect with you online with our artist talks and script readings,” she said. “We also want to connect with you in a more intimate and still distanced way and will be announcing an exciting artistic program very soon.”
Blackwell noted that in light of the Black Lives Matter movement, 4th Line Theatre is also committed to looking at all of its artistic and administrative decisions over the next few months through a “lens of ending anti-Black racism.”
“We want to ensure that the theatre is doing everything necessary to address racism and that we continue to make inclusivity a priority,” she said.
Blackwell also thanked the provincial and federal governments for their support as well as the theatre’s corporate donors.
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