At the last meeting of the Board towards the end of February this year and shortly before the first lock down was announced by the Government, we had decided to delay making a decision whether or not to go ahead with the 2020 Season. Our reasoning was based largely on the fact that we stage our performances later in the season than many of the traditional opera festivals and there was therefore a reasonable chance the crisis would be over in time for rehearsals to begin in June.
Sadly, in the light of the further lock down announced by the Government late last week, it now seems inevitable that the easing of restrictions to the extent required to permit public performances is going to be much later than anyone thought. As much as we would love to see you all at West Green this year, the safety of our artists and that of our audiences is paramount and while there is even the slightest chance of a second “wave” of this dreadful virus, we will not take the risk.
So, with very heavy hearts, the Board has decided it has no choice but to postpone the 2020 Season. However, if all goes to plan, it is a postponement and not a cancellation and this year’s productions will be staged in the 2021 Season with, so far as availability permits, the same exciting young and emerging artists and musicians who had already been engaged for this year.
As you can imagine, the decision to postpone this year will have a significant financial impact on our artists, given that their diaries are going to be devoid of work for the foreseeable future. With this in mind and in view of the fact one of the major reasons West Green House Opera exists is to nurture and support emerging talent, the Board intends to try and honour at least a proportion of the contracted fees in order to offset the inevitable hardship the artists will face in the coming months.
You, our Friends and ticket buyers, are the financial backbone of what we do and our deepest thanks go to all of you for your loyalty and support to date. Now, however, we need you more than ever, not only to enable us to give much needed support to our 2020 cast and crew members but also to ensure the Charity itself survives and is able to continue the invaluable mentoring process it offers to young and emerging creativity in this wonderful world of Opera.
We will of course be offering full refunds to all ticket holders but in view of what we have in mind to alleviate some of the financial hardship for our artists, may we ask those of our ticket holders who can afford to do so, whether you would be prepared to donate, in whole or in part, the money you have already spent or were intending to spend on tickets for this Season? Alternatively, it would assist our cashflow tremendously if you might be prepared to receive a credit for this year’s tickets with our guarantee that you will receive the same seats for your chosen performances next year.
Although we will be losing valuable revenue due to the fact we cannot perform this Season, we are still hopeful we will be able to host a Gala Dinner in London in November this year at which we aim to invite some of our young artists to sing. More details and a “Save the Date” will be circulated shortly and posted on our website so we hope many of you will be able to join us. And if by then the world has survived and is returning to normality, what a poignant and joyous celebration that Dinner will be!
Until then, from all of us at West Green House Opera, our deepest thanks once again for your support; as a wise man once said, true friends are there in the bad times and not just the good and you have demonstrated that loyalty in spades! Stay safe and well and we WILL meet again for more magical nights at West Green in 2021.
With our very best wishes
Marylyn Abbott : Founder
Glenn Hurstfield : Chairman
West Green House Opera