BERKELEY (CBS SF) — California Shakespeare Theater announced Friday it was canceling its 2020 season and furloughing 65 percent of its full-time employees due to safety concerns and financial hardship from the coronavirus pandemic.

The theater was set to open up its 46th season on May 30 with William Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors” and begin rehearsals in April.

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“This may seem like an extraordinary decision, but taking into account the incredible uncertainty of this moment, the cost of producing a season at the Bruns of which ticket sales only account for a third, the current and long-term disruption in fundraising, and our desire to participate fully in current and future civic actions intended to flatten the curve, we feel this is our best course of action,” Artistic Director Eric Ting said in a letter to subscribers.

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Ting, Managing Director Sarah Williams and the Board of Directors of California Shakespeare Theater made the decision to cancel the 2020 performance season, according to statement released by the theater. The theater is planning on returning for a 2021 season.

Due to the cancellation of the 2020 season, California Shakespeare Theater will lose more than $1.2 million in earned revenue and is being
forced to furlough 65 percent of its year-round employees, according to the release.

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The theater has committed to maintaining health coverage for employees through at least the end of April, according to the release. The remaining staff will be working at reduced hours and pay.