After 30 summers and almost two million patrons, organizers of Vancouver’s annual Bard on the Beach Festival have announced the event has been cancelled for this year.
In a statement, organizers said that while they were excited to preset the festival’s 31st season this summer, “we are in unpredictable and unprecedented times.”
Over the past month, those involved with this year’s event have “actively shifted gears … to explore any and all ways our 2020 Festival might be safely presented in a world that has been so deeply disrupted by COVID-19.”
Despite this effort, however, “it has now become clear to us that if we stage a festival in the park this summer, we can’t confidently ensure the health and well-being of our community – our patrons, artistic company, staff and seasonal workers, volunteers, partners and more – in short, the more than 100,000 people who would gather together at our site and in turn, be in contact with the greater community.”
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They added, “Our first and constant priority must be a safe and healthy space for all.”
And while organizers admit “it hurts to think about the lost opportunities … we believe we have made the most responsible choice under the circumstances.”
Those who have already purchased passes or tickets for this year’s festival can choose from a range of options including 2021 credits, donation opportunities, and refunds, with details available on the event’s website.
“We know that the cancellation of our season will strike a significant blow to Bard’s financial health,” said organizers. “We hope you will decide to support our organization in these troubled times, to help ensure we can bring you entertaining and powerful theatre in our 2021 Season and beyond.”
The 2021 season will feature the productions that were originally slated to be performed this year, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry V, Love’s Labour’s Lost, and Paradise Lost by Erin Shields.