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A modified version of The Nutcracker will return to Toronto this seasonwith COVID-19 vaccination rules for the audience, but no celebrity guest stars and no child performers onstage.

The National Ballet of Canada says patrons will need proof of vaccination and government-issued ID when they enter the Four Seasons Centre, in accordance with provincial vaccine rules for theatres and concert halls.

Children younger than 12 – who do not have an authorized COVID-19 vaccine – must provide proof of a negative rapid antigen or PCR test taken no more than 48 hours before attending a show, however their tickets will be discounted to offset the cost of the test.

This year’s production will also not include performers younger than 12, traditionally enlisted to play side characters including chefs and mice. Instead, the National Ballet says those roles will be performed by students of Canada’s National Ballet School, adding that all performers and crew will be fully vaccinated.

This year’s production will also do without celebrity Cannon Dolls, who in the past have included NBA player Kyle Lowry, Toronto Maple Leafs stars Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, and Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield.

The Nutcracker, one of the largest and most elaborate productions in the National Ballet’s repertoire, runs from Dec. 10 to 31.

Audience members will be required to wear masks at all times, other than when eating or drinking, and theatres will operate at 50 per cent capacity.

Guests must be fully vaccinated with a full series or a combination of accepted vaccines at least 14 days before attending a performance, the National Ballet said Tuesday.

Last August, the National Ballet cancelled the 2020 performances of the Nutcracker due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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