The Stratford Festival laid off 495 people Friday and says another 440 will have their contracts or seasonal employment delayed.
The news comes as the festival announced it will now cancel performances through to the end of May and suspend both rehearsals and season preparations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Performances had already been cancelled from April 11 to May 2.
In a news release, festival officials said it had become clear this week that the practice of social distancing was “not compatible” with the rehearsal process.
“The festival now finds itself in a holding pattern as it awaits further direction from the government so that it can safely resume preparations for the 2020 season,” the news release said.