Blyth Festival Theatre cancels ‘The Waltz’

BLYTH – Blyth Festival Theatre Artistic Director, Gil Garratt announced via press release on Aug. 2 the cancelling of the entire run of their third show of the 2022 season, The Waltz by Marie Beath Badian.

Caught in Ontario’s seventh wave, with COVID-19 spreading in the company, the Blyth Festival was twice forced to delay the beginning of rehearsals. After sober reflection, the company are now at the point where there is no longer a conceivable way to thoroughly, or appropriately, rehearse the show and so the decision to cancel the show outright was made.

“This is a new play, and a premiere production: the playwright has never seen it staged, the director has never worked these scenes, and these actors are the first to ever inhabit this work … none of them has really been able to even start this work in the rehearsal hall,” Garrett wrote. “And now we’re out of time to do it right. Artists are sick and they need time to heal. The only time to heal is right now … there will be other opportunities to make this art, and to make it the right way, honouring the years of dreaming that have already gone into it.”

Garrett continued by explaining creating new, original plays, is not just what Blyth Festival does, it is what they are and a new play can’t be crushed and rushed to the stage.

“That’s not how we make the best in new Canadian plays,” he wrote.

This has been a very difficult decision to come to. Blyth Festival started a commission for this play in 2018 as a sequel to Marie Beath Badian’s 2013 hit Prairie Nurse.

“An emergency meeting with the board of directors resulted in a decision to cancel the run,” Garrett wrote. “When faced with the option of putting a play on stage that hadn’t had enough time to rehearse, it made no sense to try to move forward with it. It would not be fair to our patrons, our sponsors or to the artists themselves. As one Board Member expressed ‘faced with choosing between taking a financial loss, or compromising our artists and our artistic integrity, the choice is obvious. We take the financial loss.’”

Box office staff will be getting in touch with ticket buyers.

John Ware Reimagined by Cheryl Foggo, is still slated to start previews Sept. 1 and will be the closing show of the 2022 season, running until Sept. 24.