International news round-up: December 3
Lack of joy in Mainz
GERMANY/MAINZ Staff of the Staatstheatr in Mainz are being taken to court for singing in order to disrupt an anti-migrant protest. As around 300 gathered at a rally in the square outside the theatre organised by the right-wing Alternative for Germany party, 120 theatre members from within the Staatstheatr interrupted speakers by singing Beethoven’s Ode to Joy through an open window – the melody is also the EU anthem. The police have charged them with interfering with the right to free assembly, a crime punishable with imprisonment of up to three years or a fine.
Czech open house
CZECH REPUBLIC Since it started three years ago, the Czech Republic’s European Theatre Night has grown to 130 theatres in 36 cities and towns across the country. Organised by the Ministry of Culture-funded Arts and Theatre Institute in Prague, the event was held on November 21 and allowed theatres to provide a backstage look at how they are run and how productions are staged. Organisers predict that this year will easily surpass 2014’s 50,000 visitors.
Theatre stays empty
MEXICO/MORELIA The Mariano Matamoros Theatre in Morelia, in the state of Michoacan, is still standing empty despite a multi-million-peso renovation project. Work began in 2009 on the 1930s Cine Colonial and its 18th-century facade with an initial budget of 150m pesos (£6 million). Completion was scheduled for 2010 in time for Mexico’s bicentennial independence celebration. Head of the renovation trust, Cuauhtemoc Cardenas Batel, is the son of a former state governor, and has refused to confirm that the final spend could be up to 365m pesos (£14.5 million).
USA/NEW YORK Now in its 19th year on Broadway, The Lion King has just released a 360-degree video of its opening number Circle of Life. Recorded at the Minskoff Theatre and premiered on YouTube and Facebook, the piece records both stage and auditorium with glimpses of backstage. Producers Disney Theatrical Productions says that this is the first time immersive reality technology has been used in a Broadway theatre.
BRAZIL/ARACUJA This year’s Cenym Awards were handed out to Brazil’s theatre industry by the Academia de Artes no Teatro do Brasil in a ceremony in Aracuja. Best show was Um Estranho no Ninho (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), which had five wins including Bruce Gomlevsky as best director. Winning four awards apiece were Tadzio and No Pirex, which include best original text and best design respectively. Best company went to Limite 151 for O Olho Azul da Falecida, best solo show to Autobiografia Autorizada, and best musical to Chaplin: The Musical. The Teatro de Santa Isabel won best theatre.
IRAN/TEHRAN Iran and Italy have staged a joint production, Fathers, Mothers and Kids, at the Tehran City Theater on November 24-28. Co-produced by Tehran’s Moj and Bologna’s Cantieri Meticci companies and directed by Arash Abbasi, the play featured Italian, Russian and French actors and explored the migration crisis in Europe. The venture was part of the International Resistance Theater Festival, run by the Dramatic Arts Center of Iran, and will now tour Europe.
USA/NEW YORK The New York Times has reversed its decision to omit designer credits for its theatre reviews. Designer union/association United Scenic Artists Local USA 829 had protested at the decision and began a social media campaign in a bid to get the credits reinstated. Support included open letters to the paper from 850 Local USA 829 members and also from 80 prominent playwrights including Terrence McNally, Tony Kushner, Annie Baker, David Henry Hwang, Rajiv Joseph, Taylor Mac and Anna Ziegler.
Training in the USA
USA/NEW YORK London’s American Musical Theatre Academy is creating two full-time courses in New York – a development programme for performers with previous training or experience, and a preparatory programme aimed at high school graduates. The application process is open now for September 2016.