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Shakespeare & Company to reveal season changes 'very soon' in light of virus

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LENOX — In response to the new coronavirus pandemic, Shakespeare & Company is expected to announce changes to its 2020 summer season "very soon," Artistic Director Allyn Burrows said in a statement released Friday.

The company is scheduled to begin its season in late May with "The Lifespan of a Fact." Highlighting the schedule, which, at present, runs through mid-December, is "King Lear," starring Christopher Lloyd in the title role, June 28 through Aug. 2.

"As we settle further into what feels like a long stretch of isolation already, we remain concerned for the health and safety of people here in the Berkshires and around the world," Burrows said in his statement. "COVID-19 continues to exact its devastating toll on innocent people whose lives have been hammered by this unforgiving virus.

"The only immediate plan we can make is to put plans on hold," he wrote. "We will have information on our upcoming plans for this season for you very soon."

In a separate email to The Eagle, Burrows said, "We'll have an answer within the next couple of weeks."

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"Like everyone else we're gathering ... as much cogent information as quickly as possible to make an informed decision, based on data and scientific forecasts.

"How quickly do you think people are going to feel comfortable coming back to the theatre once we're given the all-clear? ... What will the milestones be, ample and readily available testing, a vaccine? Those are the questions that hang in the air."

"For now getting together will have to wait," Burrows said in his earlier prepared statement. "There is serious business at hand to eradicate this scourge and we must all do our part by staying away from each other. What we can do is support each other from afar."

Also citing public health concerns, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival has canceled its entire 2020 season; Berkshire Theatre Group has curtailed its 2020 season and pushed back the start; Barrington Stage Company has dropped the opening show of its season and is expected to announce more sweeping changes shortly; and, in Vermont, Dorset Theatre Festival and Weston Playhouse have canceled their seasons.

There is no indication yet whether Williamstown Theatre Festival is planning any changes to its 2020 season, which is scheduled to begin June 30 with a widely anticipated production of Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire," directed by Robert O'Hara and starring Audra McDonald as Blanche DuBois.


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