Because of the coronavirus crisis, Ledbury Poetry Festival has cancelled or postponed all events and community programme activities for March and April.

But the hope is that the main festival, from July 3 to July 12, will be able to go ahead.

The Worcester News understands that the festival is compiling an action plan for the Arts Council, which should be in place as early as this Friday.

Chloe Garner, artistic director of the Ledbury Poetry Festival said the position this week that that the summer festival "is currently still going ahead".

But she added: "However we are monitoring the situation closely in case we need to change our position. As an organisation, Ledbury Poetry Festival’s priority is to behave as responsibly as possible."

Events cancelled or postponed by the festival for March and April include Community Programme workshops, Ledbury Poetry Salons, the Slam at The Courtyard in Hereford and the Community Consultation Days at the Barrett Browning Institute.

Ledbury Poetry Festival, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2016, is widely regarded as the biggest and best poetry festival in the UK.

There are a host of free events, and it is not unusual for the festival to sell 5,000 tickets, for a sales total approaching £50,000.

Big names are a feature at the festival, and last year's line-up included novelist Margaret Atwood; Poet Laureate Simon Armitage; former Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy and the comedian, Alexei Sayle.

The full 2020 programme is still to be announced.

The Government's more robust advice this Monday on how to deal with the ongoing coronavirus crisis caught many by surprise, and it has led to the temporary closure of local theatres including The Market Theatre in Ledbury, The Courtyard in Hereford and Malvern Theatres.

A statement from The Courtyard, a venue which hosts some Ledbury Poetry events, said: "Following official government advice issued on Monday 16 March, which stipulates that people should avoid public buildings including theatres, we regret to announce that The Courtyard will be closed to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

"Closing is not a decision we’ve taken lightly, and we know it will have a severe impact on the many people working with us – but we have a responsibility to our community and remaining open is just not an option anymore. We will remain closed until further notice and all events for the next month will be postponed – this time period will be in constant review. We will look to re-open as soon as possible, following government recommendations."

The statement adds: "The arts have historically been something that continues to bring people together in times of crisis and we’re sorry we’re not able to do this in our usual way. We are first and foremost your community venue and we will be looking at other ways to remain being there for you during these unprecedented times.

"Keep your spirits high and be there for each other is all we can ask."