It is with an extremely heavy heart that we must inform you that Illyria is cancelling its 2020 season because of the Covid-19 virus outbreak.
We haven’t taken this decision lightly, and have sought advice form multiple sources on the possibility of severe disruption during the peak time of our touring schedule in June-August, which would coincide with what the Government has identified as the time the infection rate will peak.
We owe a duty of care to our actors who would be exposing themselves to a higher risk of infection by working for us. We have also reached the conclusion that the virus presents an insurmountable business interruption threat if one of our our actors fall ill. When touring, our actors are effectively a family - sharing close contact in vehicles and hotel rooms, and expelling droplets of potentially contagious saliva on one-another, and potentially on some members of the audience, during the performances. If one of our actors falls ill, they will need to isolate for 7 days under the current guidance. This guidance may be amended at a later date to 14 days for the sick person and anyone in close contact, which would mean the tour would have to stop. There is no commercially-viable understudy model that could cover this eventuality; and even if the entire cast were replaced, the replacement cast would still be exposed to the same risks.
We owe a duty of care to our audiences. We think it would be highly irresponsible to encourage people to travel and congregate in large numbers during the peak of the outbreak. Especially as many of our audience members are in the highest risk age groups. Of course, people might also decide that they don’t want to take the risk of attending events, which would mean venues would take a significant hit on sales which would be financially catastrophic for our venues and for Illyria itself.
Therefore, we conclude that given the risk to the wellbeing of our cast and audiences, combined with the financial risk, means the 2020 season unviable.
We will return in 2021, bringing back the shows we had planned to tour in 2020.