Lighthouse Festival Theatre will not go ahead with its five main season shows this summer.
In making the announcement public on Thursday morning, the Port Dover theatre said it “is faced with the reality that the live theatre environment, for the foreseeable future, cannot exist as it once did prior to COVID-19.”
Sponsors, partners and theatre subscribers had started to receive notice of the summer closure earlier in the week.
The five shows and Young Company production were scheduled to start in late May and run throughout the summer until September.
The theatre has been operating for four decades and attracts over 40,000 patrons to its summer plays in Port Dover.
The theatre’s release said “with social distancing and unknown future mitigation efforts, Lighthouse cannot confidently welcome their 40,000 patrons, guest artists, technical crew, volunteers and partners safely to the theatre this summer.”
“Our first and only priority must be the safety of each and every member of our Lighthouse family,” Artistic Director Derek Ritschel shared.
“It is a tough decision, without a doubt, but we believe we have made the most responsible choice. We take this step to ensure there is a bright future for Lighthouse beyond this summer,” said Mr Ritschel.
Lighthouse did say that, at this time, it is still planning to present the Season Topper “Glory Days!” this September.
Mr Ritschel said they will be spending the next few weeks preparing a range of options for ticket holders and will reach out to all patrons individually.
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Watch for next week’s Maple Leaf print edition for more local reaction on this story.
Published online April 23,2020