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International news round-up: May 28

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Financial shake-up

AUSTRALIA/CANBERRA As part of a new budget, attorney general George Brandis announced expenditure of A$104.8 million (£53 million) over four years to establish a National Programme for Excellence in the Arts, intended to support “endowments, international touring and strategic projects” and focus on attracting private sector support. Some funding for the new programme will be “redirected” from the Australia Council, which will continue to be the principal arts funding body. The government plans to find savings of A$13 million in arts and cultural programmes run by Screen Australia, the Australia Council and the attorney general’s department. It is also moving A$5.3 million over three years from the Australia Council to a private-sector-matched funding programme.

Capitals of culture

IRELAND/DUBLIN Ireland and Croatia have been announced as the countries chosen for the European Capital of Culture 2020. Each country will have a city selected by the European Union in a process due to begin in the coming months. Dublin has already launched its bid to host the year-long celebration, holding a number of cafe conversations and free events to discuss what matters most to the citizens.

Opera chief arrested

ROMANIA/BUCHAREST The director of the Romanian National Opera, Razvan Ioan Dinca, has been placed under arrest, along with four other officials. They are accused of abuse of office, false statements and conflict of interest.

Island arts allocation

MALTA/VALETTA A total of €75,000 has been allocated to this year’s Kreativ, a programme managed by Arts Council Malta, in collaboration with the culture directorate that aims to bring creative practitioners into schools. A maximum of €5,000 will be awarded to each proposal selected, to be used over a 12-month period. Arts Council Malta is also to co-host the Seventh World Summit on Arts and Culture that will take place from October 18 to 21, 2016. Looking even further ahead, Valetta is to be the 2018 European Capital of Culture.

Yugoslav reunion

SERBIA/NOVI SAD Sterijino Pozorje, Serbia’s leading theatre festival, takes place from May 26 to June 3 in Novi Sad. The 60th anniversary edition welcomes the major Serbian companies, plus the national theatre companies of the ex-Yugoslav republics of Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Slovenia. Stan’s Cafe will present its Finger, Trigger, Bullet, Gun, while the A La Place company from Tokyo offers Dusan Kovacevic’s Balkan Spy.

Fifty years in the role

ITALY/MILAN In May and June, audiences at the Piccolo Teatro will have yet another opportunity to see the longest running production in the theatre’s repertoire, Giorgio Strehler’s 1947 staging of Goldoni’s Arlecchino, servant of Two Masters. The title role is, as ever, played by Ferruccio Soleri, now 85 years old, the world record holder for having performed the same role in the same play for the longest time: over half a century.

Drama league awards

USA/NEW YORK The winners of the 81st Annual Drama League Awards were announced on May 15. Outstanding production of a play went to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, while An American in Paris was named outstanding musical. Outstanding revival of a play was You Can’t Take It with You, outstanding revival of a musical, The King and I. The distinguished performance award went to Chita Rivera in The Visit. The Drama League Awards are unusual in that they combine Broadway and Off-Broadway productions in the same categories, and allow more nominations in each category than most awards – 47 for distinguished performance.

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