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Avignon Theatre Festival cancelled as Covid-19 wreaks havoc on France’s summer events

A rehearsal at Avignon's Palais des Papes during last year's edition of the theatre festival.
A rehearsal at Avignon's Palais des Papes during last year's edition of the theatre festival. © AFP file photo

The annual theatre festival in the French city of Avignon has been cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak, organisers said Monday, minutes after President Emmanuel Macron announced that major festivals could not take place until mid-July at the earliest.

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"The conditions have not been met to allow the 74th edition to take place," organisers said in a statement. The festival, one of the world's most famous celebrations of drama, had been set for July 3-23.

The organisers said that they had taken note of the French president's address to the nation on the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed nearly 15,000 people in France.

Macron said a gradual easing of France's lockdown could be allowed from May 11 but the big festivals could not take place until mid-July at the earliest, while cinemas and theatres must remain closed for now.

The virus outbreak has ravaged France's glittering spring and summer cultural calender, with the Cannes Film Festival also not taking place as planned in May. The world's biggest film festival had suggested it might postpone the event to the summer.

Several major music festivals have already cancelled their 2020 editions, including the Parisian gatherings Lollapalooza and Solidays, and the Hellfest heavy metal festival in western France.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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