The number of cancelled performances at Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC) this year now outweighs those that have been staged, rising to 168 as the Company announces that its upcoming production of Sunday will be unable to proceed.
Despite every effort to overcome the challenges of this lockdown, the inability to obtain exemptions to rehearse in person under strict a COVID-safe plan has left MTC no other option.
“The Company is devastated to be in this position and to disappoint our loyal audiences again. In many ways 2021 is proving to be harder than last year and the financial impact is acute,” said MTC Co-CEO Virginia Lovett.
“We tried everything we could, absolutely everything. Countless permutations of how we could stage the show this year have been explored including rescheduling the season to alternate dates when vaccine threshold are due to be met and the possibility of using other venues later in the year.”
“No stone was left unturned but with multiple requests for rehearsal exemptions denied, no confidence that future requests will be considered and no idea when theatres will be able to open in the short term – unfortunately it left no alternate decision.”
“The impact on artists is equally devastating and the extraordinary commitment of the Sunday cast and creative team must be noted and acknowledged. From cast spending two weeks in quarantine in order to enter Victoria, to persevering with rehearsals over Zoom since the beginning of August in the hope that there would be a way through this and onto stage, everyone has sacrificed a great deal and given all they could,” said Ms Lovett.
MTC’s sights are now firmly set on staging As You Like It later this year. MTC looks forward to working with the State Government on a plan to reopen, remain open and provide a safe experience for our staff, artists and audiences. The key to this will be a fully implemented vaccination plan.
Sunday was originally scheduled to play at Southbank Theatre from 18 September to 23 October. Future presentation options for Sunday will be pursued, as they will for Jacky and Cyrano. For more information, visit: www.mtc.com.au for details.
Image: illustration by Mark Conlan