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Striking French arts workers force Avignon Festival to cancel opening night

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Striking French arts workers force Avignon Festival to cancel opening night

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Avignon’s world famous arts festival has cancelled its opening night after theatre staff went on strike.

It’s part of a nationwide campaign by part-time and temporary film and theatre workers who are angry at plans to slash their benefits.

The government says it needs to cut the country’s debt but the workers, known as “intermittents”, argue their social security payments which tide therm through lean times are vital to supporting French culture.

The director of the festival, Olivier Py, announced that Friday evening’s performances of “The Prince of Homburg” and the ballet “Fatal Coup” would not take place.

During Thursday’s rehearsal there was a stand off between technical staff who are striking and actors who have voted not to join the strike.

The arts festival – one of the biggest in the world – attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year to its theatre and opera performances

It is unclear at the moment how the rest of the festival will be affected.