THE Lowry Theatre will no longer host its forthcoming Words Weekend after organisers pulled the plug over the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

The three day literary festival was set to welcome the likes of Shaun Ryder, Derek Jacobi, Sir Bob Geldof and Sir Ranulph Fiennes to the Salford venue with more than 50 events, workshops, talks and speakers scheduled for the weekend of March 27-29.

But organisers have now announced the cancellation of the event, citing the escalation of the coronavirus outbreak.

Words Weekend artistic director Beth Gallimore said: "It is with huge sadness that we have taken the decision to cancel Words Weekend at The Lowry following the escalation of COVID-19 in Europe. Although this is an incredibly difficult decision, the health of authors and audiences must be the priority.

"The cancellation of London Book Fair was an early indicator of the impact COVID-19 would have on our industry, and given the fast-changing nature of the situation, we feel we must act quickly and decisively.

"All ticket holders will be contacted directly by the venue.

"We will be pressing ahead with our plans for Bury St Edmunds in May, our spring 2021 festival at Sage Gateshead, and hope to plan another festival at The Lowry in the future."

A spokesperson for The Lowry added: "The Lowry continues to follow the advice provided by Public Health England to ensure the safety of our visitors and staff.

"We have implemented a number of additional visible and non-visible measures to help reduce the risk of infection.

"All performances, exhibitions and workshops are going-ahead as scheduled. We would, however, remind all visitors of the importance of maintaining good hand and personal hygiene at all times."