Bard on Bower is bowing out it its 2020 season due to ongoing concerns over COVID-19, but is hopefully returning in 2021. This scene is from a past production of Romeo and Juliet, starring Zach Running Coyote and Meegan Sweet. (Advocate file photo).

Bard on Bower is cancelling its 2020 season

A recent rise in COVID-19 cases have inflamed public gathering concerns

Bard on Bower is bowing out of public outdoor performances this summer.

Thomas Usher, artistic director of Red Deer’s Prime Stock Theatre, had hoped to bump his Shakespeare in the park season back by a month to start in August instead of July.

But with the recent rise in COVID-19 cases and ongoing safety concerns about public gatherings, Usher decided Bard on Bower 2020 cannot be staged this year.

“While we had optimistically hoped that we could mount our regular season belatedly at the end of August, the uncertainty over public performances during COVID, as well as diminishing sponsorship resources and additional safety costs, have forced our hand,” stated Usher.

While much brainstorming was done to try to come up with revised protocols that would protect the actors, crew members and the public, “we could not confidently do so,” he added.

“It’s equally disappointing to the number of local and regional artists who were looking forward to return to our summer programming as a vital part of the Red Deer arts scene.”

Usher plans to return with new Bard on Bower Shakespearean productions next year, “should public access and resources and permit.”

He anticipates opening the 2021 season with “refreshed ideas” as well as more sponsorships.

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