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International news round-up: June 23

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Promenade Romeos

ITALY/VERONA The Kings Theatre Portsmouth, Teatro Nuovo-Verona and Teatro Stabile Veneto are reprising their promenade performances from last year of Romeo and Juliet across historic landmarks in Verona. Directed by Paolo Valerio, artistic director of Teatro Nuovo-Verona, the Italian-language version features established actors, while the English version features recent graduates. The latter runs from July 11 to September 17, the Italian version from June 27-July 6 and September 19-29. Details at kingsportsmouth.co.uk

Cervantes conversion

MOROCCO/TANGIER Thirty years after shutting down the Cervantes Theatre in Tangier, Spain has approved the venue’s conversion into a cultural centre. The building will be donated to the state of Morocco. The Cervantes opened in Tangier in 1913 as a result of Spain’s colonial presence in the country. Its 1,400 seats made it North Africa’s biggest theatre until it closed in 1974 due to mounting costs required to maintain and restore it. Work is planned to begin in 2017.

First children’s venue

SOUTH KOREA/SEOUL Korea’s first ever municipal theatre for children has opened near Daehak-ro, Seoul’s theatre district. The Jongno Children’s Theatre features 250 children-sized seats and will programme throughout the year. Artistic director Kim Sookhee has announced that the Jongno will host the KiwooPiwoo Puppetry Festival and the 24th ASSITEJ Korea International Summer Festival.

Bitter Lemons sacking

USA/LOS ANGELES Bitter Lemons, the critics site for Los Angeles theatre, has fired its editor-in-chief Colin Mitchell. In an online post, publisher Enci Box said that an article on the site by Mitchell in reaction to alleged abuses at Profiles Theatre, a fringe venue in Chicago that has now closed, had “crossed from controversial into unacceptable”. Mitchell had commented on recent accusations within the Chicago theatre community about victimisation and abuse in the way not-for-profit Profiles had been run. Although Box has taken over Mitchell’s position, this has not stopped Hollywood Fringe from saying that it will end its association with the Bitter Lemons site.

New backers for TYA

JAPAN/TOKYO Six organisations have come together to relaunch TYA Japan (Theatre for Young Audiences in Japan). In its heyday, TYA Japan acted as an umbrella group for almost 200 companies to take theatre to academic institutions. Falling funding has severely reduced audience access, and the organisation says that “it is now necessary to construct a new system including considering the expansion of public subsidies”. TYA Japan plans to hold an Asian festival in 2018 and to host the ASSITEJ World Congress in 2020 in Japan.

Young Critics’ Seminar

POLAND/WROCLAW Applications are now open for a Young Critics’ Seminar at the Theatre Olympics in October and November. Organised by the International Association of Theatre Critics and its Polish section, with the support of the Grotowski Institute, which is behind the Seventh Theatre Olympics Wroclaw 2016, the seminar will run with 10 participants who must be professional critics aged 18-35. Deadline is June 30. For details and dates, email jp.han@free.fr

Technical school opens

RUSSIA/MOSCOW Russia’s first national vocational theatre programme has been launched in Moscow. Based at the Na Strastnom Theatre Centre, the Vocational Theatre School is designed to train “theatre managers and technical directors, among other roles”. Despite the gap in technical training, the programme is only open to 22 selected participants from Russia’s regional theatres. Guest lecturers include Electro Stanislavsky Theatre artistic director Boris Yukhananov, as well as technical specialists from the Bolshoi, Lenkom and Pushkin theatres.

Lion King in Mandarin

CHINA/SHANGHAI Disney’s The Lion King has opened in Shanghai for the first time in Mandarin. The musical is playing at the Walt Disney Grand Theatre next to the Shanghai Disney Resort park. To make the show more relevant to local audiences, director Julie Taymor has added a new monkey character, a familiar motif from nature in Chinese folklore.

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

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