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USCIS denies work visa application for 'Master Harold,' postponing opening

Tonight's opening performance of "Master Harold... And the Boys," a 2016 Shaw Festival production slated for a four-day run in Shea's 710 Theatre, has been canceled because of a visa issue, said Shea's marketing and communications director Sarah Heximer.

According to a statement from Shea's President and CEO Michael Murphy and Shaw Festival Executive Director Tim Jennings, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services unexpectedly denied the organizations' initial visa requests despite the Shaw Festival's "long history of touring in the United States."

Late Thursday afternoon, Shea's and the Shaw Festival received word that a renewed request sent earlier had been approved. This will allow the remaining performances at 8 p.m. Feb. 16 and 17 and 2 p.m. Feb 18 to proceed.

The opening performance, according to the statement, was canceled "due to unforeseen problems in receiving the required U.S. temporary working visas on time."

"After consulting the USCIS," the statement continued, "we submitted a new application and requested an expedited decision. We are awaiting approval."

Patrons who bought tickets can either change them to the remaining performances or receive a full refund.

The show, directed by Philip Akin, was originally mounted at the Shaw Festival in 2016 and recently traveled to Montreal.

Shea's notified patrons of the cancellation via email on Thursday afternoon.

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