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New Zealand Festival of the Arts cancels last three performances

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The New Zealand Festival of the Arts has cancelled the last three performances scheduled for its final day Sunday 15 March due to the rapidly changing situation around Covid-19 and public events in Wellington.

The cancelled performances are Slapstick at 2pm, Strasbourg 1518 at 4pm and Dimanche at 5pm. All ticket holders are being informed and will receive information about refunds from Ticketmaster.

Festival Executive Director Meg Williams says the decision was hugely disappointing.

"The Festival and our artists are hugely disappointed and we are sorry that some audiences will miss out on seeing these fantastic works. However, we feel that extreme caution is the right approach in a situation that is changing so rapidly," she said.

The cancellation of last night’s performance of Strasbourg 1518 was also Covid-19 related, but that was for casting reasons, not due to fears of transmission.

Two artists involved in the Festival had been in contact with a person who has been confirmed as Covid-19 positive on Saturday morning (14 March). Both were cast members of the New Zealand Festival of the Arts show Strasbourg 1518.

As soon as the diagnosis was delivered to the person on Saturday, the artists were informed and they self-isolated. The New Zealand Festival of the Arts then sought immediate advice from the Ministry of Health.

As per the Ministry of Health protocol we have been advised that one artist should remain self-isolated for 14 days, and the other did not require isolation because they were in very brief casual contact.

In addition, the Festival was advised that no-one who came into contact with the two artists in the intervening few hours was at risk of contracting the virus and had no need to self-isolate.

Saturday evening’s performance of Strasbourg 1518 was subsequently cancelled because there was insufficient time for casting adjustments to be made. This was not due to concerns around transmission of Covid-19.

The Festival is making contact with those it knows came into contact with the artists and informing them of this guidance and encouraging them to reach out to public health officials to seek further assurance if they feel they want to.

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