The annual Taiwan International Festival of the Arts (TIFA), which was scheduled to open on Friday, has suffered its first hit from the COVID-19 outbreak, with two international companies canceling their trips to Taiwan and a local food-centric production being postponed until later this year.
The National Theater Concert Hall (NTCH) yesterday morning announced that two dance troupes, Michael Keegan-Dolan’s Teac Damsa from Ireland and the London-based Candoco Dance Company, had been unable to obtain the necessary overseas performance insurance to cover their trips to Taipei.
They had also been concerned that their future tour itineraries might be affected by other nations’ disease prevention or quarantine restrictions, and so, after talks with the NTCH, they decided to cancel their Taiwan debuts.
Photo courtesy of the National Theater Concert Hall
Teac Damsa had been scheduled to give three performances of Keegan-Dolan’s Swan Lake and Loch na hEala at the National Theater starting on Friday night, while Candoco was to perform Yasmeen Godder’s Face In and Hetain Patel’s Let’s Talk About Dis from March 20 to March 22 in the National Experimental Theater.
The outdoor launch party for this year’s TIFA was to be three free performances on Friday of Taiwanese playwright-director Fan Chung-chi’s (樊宗錡) Bando (十二碗菜歌), a musical incorporating traditional banquet catering, with snacks provided to audience members, in the main plaza between the National Theater and the Concert Hall.
Given concerns that sharing food has a high risk of viral transmission, organizers decided to postponed the production until the fall.
The National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying) announced that next weekend’s two shows of American choreographer William Forsythe’s A Quiet Evening of Dance have also been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.
The production had been scheduled for two stops in Asia on its current world tour — Hong Kong for a show on Thursday and then Kaohsiung.
It lost the Hong Kong show when the entire month-long Hong International Art Festival was scrapped on Feb. 10 due to the COVID-19 outbreak in China, with the territory’s government postponing most of its large performance venues.
The NTCH and Weiwuying said that tickets for the canceled shows are refundable.
The National Performing Arts Center, the umbrella organization for the NTCH, Weiwuying and the National Taichung Theater, previously said that it is taking disease-prevention precautions at all of its venues, with employees required to have their temperatures taken daily and frontline staff to wear masks while on duty, while disinfection measures are being increased.
Audience members are required to have their temperatures taken before entering a venue, so they are encouraged to factor this into their arrival plans. They are also encouraged to wear masks.
Earlier this month the TaipeiEYE, a small Taipei theater that produces traditional Beijing opera, puppet and acrobatic shows for tourists, announced that it was canceling all of its shows through Feb. 25 and offering full refunds to ticket holders.
Information on the resumption of shows will be posted on its Web site and Facebook page, it said.
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