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International news round-up: March 17

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International Dance Day

SAMOA Dancer and choreographer Lemi Ponifasio has been announced as this year’s ‘message author’ for International Dance Day. The event, organised by the International Dance Council, takes place annually on April 29 across the world. Ponifasio, from Samoa, is based in Auckland, New Zealand, from where his Mau dance group regularly tours internationally. He will be the special guest at an event held at Paris’ La Villette cultural centre.

New Chicago space

USA/CHICAGO Chicago Shakespeare Theater has announced plans to create a new space in Chicago. Construction will begin this spring on the lakefront venue, which will be named the Yard at Chicago Shakespeare, with the first production by the company in its 2017/18 season. The $35 million project will add to the existing Skyline Stage, adjacent to Chicago Shakespeare, creating a flexible space that will seat 150 to 850. Design partners are UK-based theatre and acoustics consultancy firm Charcoalblue and Chicago-based Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architecture.

Critics’ congress

SERBIA/BELGRADE Dates have been confirmed for the 28th World Congress of Theatre Critics, which was announced last year to be held in the Serbian capital Belgrade. The International Association of Theatre Critics will gather for business from September 26 to October 1. The congress will be hosted by the Serbian Association of Theatre Critics and Scholars and the mayor of Belgrade.

Theatre fellowship

USA/NEW YORK The Julie Taymor World Theater Fellowship is a new programme created by The Lion King director to help young talent. The fellowship will enable directors between the ages of 21 and 29 to travel to the Middle East, Africa, Asia or Latin America “to immerse themselves in artistic experiences beyond our borders”. Four fellows will receive $30,000 towards one year of travel.

Women’s company

USA/CHICAGO Two Chicago actresses have launched the first musical theatre company dedicated to employing and empowering women. Artistic directors Harmony France and Danni Smith said: “There is a void in our industry, with more actresses than actors, yet fewer roles for women. There are also statistically more women than men in our audiences. Yet most musicals are directed by men, cast with mostly men, with stories about men.” They will also ensure that productions are tailored for that majority demographic of theatregoers.

Social award

COLOMBIA Directors Bernardo Sandoval and Nube Rey have been named winners of the first Ellen Stewart International Award. The Colombians run the Theatrical Laboratory with refugee victims of torture in Rome and work in Colombia in social contexts of high vulnerability through their Theatre As Bridge method. The award honours artists doing socially engaged work with young people and as part of the award, Sandoval and Rey will be guests at the International Theatre Institute World Congress in Brazil in May. They receive an artistic residency at La MaMa Umbria, Italy, to create a new artistic work, receiving support to present the work at the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds in July and at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in New York.

Puppeteers jailed

SPAIN/MADRID The creators of a puppet show have been jailed pending trial in Spain for “glorifying terrorism”. The puppeteers of Granada company Titeres Desde Abajo were arrested after putting on a Punch and Judy-style show in Madrid’s officially sponsored Carnival festival. La Bruja Y Don Cristobal (The Witch and Don Cristobal), inspired by Lorca’s Retablillo De Don Cristobal, featured the hanging of a judge, the rape and murder of a nun and the display of a poster namechecking Basque separatists ETA, which the puppeteers explained as “denouncing political manipulation”. The incident has provoked reactions nationwide over the question of free speech and the overreaction of the authorities.

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

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