But early stages program may go on

Organizers of The Highlands Summer Festival have cancelled the 2021 summer theatre season.

In a Feb. 1 press release, they said the cancellation comes amid growing uncertainty about the COVID-19 restrictions that could be in place in July and August.

“It is with reluctance that we make this announcement,” president Brian Kipping said. “It is not where we wanted to be following last season’s cancellation. Our first concern, however, is for the safety of our patrons and staff.”

Kipping said the lack of predictability of the decline of the pandemic, and where the restrictions on public gatherings might be, leaves the organization with little choice.

However, the shuttering of the traditional season does not mean the popular Haliburton theatre company will be inactive in the coming months.

“We are exploring the possibility of hosting our early stages program,” artistic director Scot Denton said. He encouraged the public to watch for announcements closer to the summer.

Early stages is a four-week intensive theatre education program for young people aged 10 to 14. The participants learn about all facets involved in a theatrical production.

Denton said there are also plans for more online presentations.

“Following on the heels of our very popular ‘Memories’ video, we have a number of others in the works,” Denton said. “I can’t show my hand just yet, but keep an eye on our website (highlandssummerfestival.on.ca) for new presentations.”

Patrons who have left their tickets with Highlands Summer Festival will have them honoured for the 2022 season, Kipping said.

“We will respect that commitment when we are finally allowed to step back into the theatre and onto the stage.”

Kipping also paid tribute to the many people in the community who responded to the company’s donation request a month ago.

“Even though there have been no performances, we have ongoing expenses and these donations help to keep the Highlands Summer Festival alive and ready to go when conditions allow. Thank you for your support.”


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