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Council to cover show cancellation costs‏
8th March, 2016

Hamilton City Council will cover the costs of Hamilton Operatic Society's cancellation of its planned season of Mary Poppins at Founders Theatre.

The society announced the cancellation of the show tonight (Tuesday, 8 March), following a decision last week by Council Chief Executive Richard Briggs to temporarily close Founders due to health and safety concerns.

Sean Murray, Executive Director of the Council's H3 event facilities unit, says Hamilton Operatic Society will not be left out of pocket by the temporary closure of Founders, with the Council committing to cover any costs relating to Hamilton Operatic's Mary Poppins season cancellation.

The costs of the cancellation have yet to be confirmed, but are expected to be manageable within Council budgets.

"We have moral and contractual obligations relating to Hamilton Operatic Society, and we will not be walking away from those. There's a good long-term relationship between Hamilton Operatic and the Council, and we want to maintain that," Mr Murray says.

People who have already purchased tickets for Mary Poppins are entitled to a full refund. Ticket holders will receive communication from Ticketek regarding their refund.

Hamilton Operatic Society's season of Mary Poppins was scheduled for Founders in May. Staff from H3, the Council's event facilities unit, had been in discussion with Hamilton Operatic Society representatives to explore the possibility of Mary Poppins being staged at Claudelands.

Mr Murray says the Council staff understand and appreciate Hamilton Operatic's call not to pursue a season at Claudelands due to a short lead-in time.

“We think it could have worked but it wouldn’t have been easy and it certainly would have been very technically challenging for the Mary Poppins cast and crew in the timeframe. So although we are disappointed, we completely support their decision to put the show on hold.”

Of the 25 shows scheduled for Founders over coming months, 10 have been relocated to other performance venues in the city, including Claudelands.

An independent report on Founders' flying system stated it has reached the end of its working life, and Mr Briggs opted to temporarily close the theatre in the interests of health and safety.  Some parts of the theatre remain open, and a staff report on options for remedial work at Founders will be tabled at a full Council meeting on 31 March.

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