International news round-up: November 17
KENYA/NAIROBI A terrorist attack last month has left two members of a theatre company dead and three others critically wounded. Nairobi-based Pearls Quality Edutainment was in Mandera, on Kenya’s border with Somalia, when the hotel in which it was performing was attacked by Somali terrorist group Al-Shabaab. The company was in Mandera to help KCSE (A level) students through visualised performances of English and Swahili set books. Although the ministry of education recently ordered a blanket ban on such shows, the company still made the trip in a bid to find paying work.
ALBANIA/GRAMSH Theatre chairs donated by UK auditorium seating suppliers Kirwin and Simpson have helped to complete a school theatre in Albania. Responding to an appeal by National Police Aid Convoys, the seating for the Albanian Children’s Theatre, part of the Cultural Centre Gramsh, came from Ambassador Theatre Group’s Apollo Victoria theatre in London, after Kirwin and Simpson installed new chairs in that venue for this year’s 10th anniversary of Wicked – some rows were lost with the installation of a bar. In 2015, the Gramsh theatre was a total wreck, but now the roof is fixed and the auditorium and stage have been repaired. The chairs were missing brackets, which Kirwin and Simpson has offered to replace to complete the rows of chairs by Christmas. NPAC is a UK charity that collects unwanted goods and equipment for shipping to deserving communities in Eastern Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa. Visit npac.org.uk
CHINA/BEIJING China’s sixth International Theatre Academy Awards have been presented at a ceremony held in Beijing by the Central Academy of Drama and the International Theatre Institute. The academy created the awards in 2011 to promote international exchange and to offer a platform for Chinese actors. The lifetime achievement award went to 88-year-old actor and costume designer Gunilla Palmstierna-Weiss from Switzerland. Meanwhile, outstanding plays included Desire Under the Elms, Hero 24 Hours, White Deer Plain, Homeland and The Story of the Gan Monument from China, Romeo and Julia from South Korea, Eric XIV from Ukraine, and Red Venus from Argentina.
Young blood at STC
AUSTRALIA/SYDNEY Sydney Theatre Company has confirmed that Kip Williams will become its new artistic director, making him at 30 the youngest incumbent in the company’s history. STC appointed Williams as interim artistic director in August this year after the sudden departure in May of Jonathan Church. The British former director of the UK’s Chichester Festival Theatre, Church had been in the job only six months and left the 2017 programme incomplete. After studying at the National Institute of Dramatic Art in New South Wales, Williams started in 2011 at the STC as assistant to then artistic director Andrew Upton, then became directing associate the following year. Williams has announced that his focus will be on diversity, new Australian works and developing links with small-to-medium theatres.
Acid attacker returns
RUSSIA/MOSCOW According to reports in Russia, the former Bolshoi Ballet dancer jailed for his part in an acid attack on his boss is returning to take ballet classes. Pavel Dmitrichenko was a dancer with the theatre’s Bolshoi Ballet who organised an acid attack on the ballet’s artistic director Sergei Filin, which left him partially blinded. Sentenced to six years in jail in 2013 but released on parole in May, Dmitrichenko will now possibly be back in the same place where his victim currently works as head of a new workshop for young choreographers.
Five Arts Centre grant
JAPAN/KYOTO Malaysia’s Five Art Centre has been awarded Japan’s Praemium Imperiale Grant for Young Artists of 5 million yen (£38,600) in a ceremony in Tokyo. The company was in the country with Baling, a 10-year documentary theatre project, as part of the Kyoto International Performing Arts Festival 2016. The Praemium Imperiale is an international art prize awarded annually by the Japan Art Association for outstanding contribution to the development, promotion and progress of the arts – recipients include Judi Dench, Martin Scorsese and Philip Glass. For more information, visit fiveartscentre.org and praemiumimperiale.org/en
The International section is co-edited by Ian Herbert and Nick Awde. Contact email: email@example.com
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