One of Haliburton County's most popular summer attractions the Highlands Summer Festival announced on Monday it had to cancel its 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Although the opening day isn't until June 29 preparations such as rehearsals set design and costume creation would need to begin now said Brian Kipping the president of the festival's board of directors in a press release.
"The decision was taken after much deliberation and consideration of the options available to us" he said. "But in the end the welfare of patrons cast crew and volunteers was uppermost in our minds in taking this course of action."
This year's festival was to feature The Sound of Music The Importance of Being Earnest Every Brilliant Thing Lucien and Across the Pond.
"We were deeply committed to the 2020 season – the festival's creative team has been working since last August to put it together. Performance rights have been purchased we have beautiful set designs and three wonderful casts were ready to begin work" artistic producer Scot Denton said.
It is hoped the festival will be able to stage the same line-up for the 2021 season but organizers will need to confirm availability of performance rights. Ticket dates will need to be adjusted.
Those with tickets and passes are being told they can do one of three things: donate the cost of the ticket and receive a tax receipt; roll the ticket purchase to the 2021 season; or receive a refund for the ticket.
"As a charitable theatre company the Highlands Summer Festival relies on the support of our patrons both in donations and ticket sales to carry the season financially" Kipping said. "We have already incurred expenses related to the 2020 season will have more as we wind down for this year and when preparations begin for the 2021 season."
Kipping thanked the community for its support on behalf of the board.
"We share everyone's disappointment that the 2020 season will not happen as planned but we look forward to seeing you at the theatre in 2021."