The actress Martha Henry was about to summon a storm as Prospero in “The Tempest” when a real-life crisis intervened: The opening night of the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada, was canceled on Monday night after a bomb threat was called in to the police. Following a search, the area was deemed safe, and the festival announced that performances would resume on Tuesday.
The festival has specialized in producing elite Shakespeare adaptations for more than 60 years. This year’s iteration was set to include “The Tempest,” “Coriolanus” and “Julius Caesar,” as well as modern works including “The Rocky Horror Show” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Ms. Henry, who has a longstanding relationship with the festival — including a 1962 performance as Miranda in “The Tempest” — led this year’s production as Miranda’s gender-bent parent in previews starting earlier this month, with opening night slated for Monday.
But about an hour before the curtain and as audience members started to arrive, the Stratford Police Service received a call that explosives had been placed at the festival. Two theaters were evacuated and “The Tempest” was called off. The festival wrote that all ticket buyers would be reimbursed.
On Tuesday morning, the police announced that they had scoured the area and that no suspicious packages were found. “The Stratford Police has shifted its sights from public safety to a criminal investigation,” Sam Theocharis, the department’s deputy chief, said in a phone interview.
The festival will resume on Tuesday with four performances including “The Comedy of Errors” and “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”; additional security measures will be added, including bag checks.
Earlier this year, a performance by the Roots at SXSW was also canceled because of a bomb threat.