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International news round-up: April 14

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Steppenwolf season

US/CHICAGO Steppenwolf Theatre Company has announced the inaugural season at its 1700 Theatre. LookOut will run from May to August in the 80-seat studio as a mixed programme of theatre and music. Shows include Justin Tanner’s Voice Lessons, Fawzia Mirza’s Me, My Mom and Sharmila, and The People vs Friar Laurence, the Man Who Killed Romeo and Juliet, a musical with book by Ron West and music and lyrics by West and Phil Swann.

Chekhov workshops

RUSSIA/MELIKHOVO Russia’s Chekhov Theatre School is marking the 125th anniversary of the birth of actor/director Michael Chekhov with a string of residential workshops this year. The courses are based in Melikhovo, the country home of Michael’s uncle Anton, and run from May to August, including: The Theatre of the Future with Vladimir Baycher (Russia), From the Empty Space to a Vibrant Atmosphere with Elsa Valentim (Portugal) and Petronille De Saint Rapt (France). Details at chekhovtheatreschool.com

Ibsen prize awarded

NORWAY/OSLO The Norwegian government will award this year’s International Ibsen Prize to Forced Entertainment. The Sheffield-based company is first UK recipient and the first group to receive the prize. Previous winners of the biennial prize are Peter Handke, Heiner Goebbels, Jon Fosse, Ariane Mnouchkine and Peter Brook. Worth 2.5m Norwegian krone (£210,460), the prize is given on Ibsen’s birthday in September in a ceremony at the International Ibsen Festival, when Forced Entertainment will showcase a selection of its work.

Street arts report

SPAIN/BARCELONA & TARREGA Conclusions of the first European seminar for the development of street arts are now online. The Fresh Street #1 seminar, sponsored by FiraTarrega and Circostrada, was held last September in Barcelona and Tarrega to look at the role of street arts as a key element in transforming the relationship between space and its inhabitants and to make recommendations to European policy on the training and education of street performers. The report is the result of three days of open panels and workshops. It was the first European meeting dedicated to the development of street arts. Details: firatarrega.cat

Chatelet programme

FRANCE/PARIS Paris’ Theatre du Chatelet is launching its final season before closing for a two-year refit, featuring Damon Albarn’s musical Wonder.land and a new production of 42nd Street. Under director Jean-Luc Choplin, the 2,500-seat theatre has drawn new audiences in the past decade with pioneering musicals such as Singin’ in the Rain and An American in Paris – traditionally anathema to the French capital’s theatre industry. Choplin will leave the post at the end of the season. No successor has yet been nominated.

Sudden venue closure

NEW ZEALAND/HAMILTON Hamilton’s main venue Founders Theatre faces an uncertain future after closing without warning shows already booked to perform there. The closure is likely to last for several years as the council, which owns the 54-year-old 1,249-seater venue, assesses the bill for urgent repairs – the fly tower is considered unsafe and there is concern that the theatre does not meet current earthquake standards. The council will also open to public discussion the possibility of building a replacement theatre.

Fabre resigns

GREECE/ATHENS Jan Fabre has resigned as director of the Athens and Epidaurus International Festival, a position to which he was recently appointed. In letter to the board, the Belgian director said: “I accepted a mandate from the Minister of Culture of Greece to make in all freedom artistic choices. This seems no longer to be possible in Greece. I do not want to work in a hostile artistic environment to which I came with open mind and open heart.”

Fabre’s departure follows criticism of his decision to programme mostly Belgian productions. Last Friday, a letter signed by hundreds of Greek artists called for the dismissal of Fabre and minister of culture Aristidis Baltas. Greek director Vangelis Theodoropoulos has been appointed Fabre’s successor. The festival runs from June to August 2016.

The International section is co-edited by Ian Herbert and Nick Awde. Contact email: international@thestage.co.uk

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