“The arts community understands the importance of carrying on and also acknowledges the powerful role that art, culture and the act of coming together can play at a time like this.” He adds: “Unfortunately, despite our best efforts and assurances, the Opening Night team has chosen not to come.”

The play, a reworking of John Cassavetes’ cult movie of the same name and staged in French with English subtitles, was to have run between January 21 and 26 at the Sydney Opera House’s Drama Theatre.

Landing Adjani, 64, and twice nominated for an Oscar, was a major coup for the Sydney Festival. The Paris-born star has worked with some of the movie world’s greats and includes award-winning films Possession and One Deadly Summer on her resume.

Sydney Festival has said ticket holders will be refunded.

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