International news round-up: May 25

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Marek Mikos to head Stary (Old) Theatre

POLAND/KRAKOW Following a competition announced in March, the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage has announced that Marek Mikos is to take over as general director of Krakow’s Stary (Old) Theatre from Jan Klata, one of the country’s most successful (and most controversial) directors, whose contract ends in August. Klata had been one of seven applicants for his own post. Mikos is a theatre critic and his most high-profile previous managerial experience is running a local TV station in Kielce.

Nominations open for Ellen Stewart award

USA/NEW YORK Nominations are being sought for the Ellen Stewart International, an award given to an individual or theatre company whose work promotes social change and community participation with a particular focus on the engagement of young people. It celebrates the founder of New York’s LaMaMa theatre, Ellen Stewart. With the support of the International Theatre Institute, LaMaMa New York and Italy, and the Spoleto Festival of 2 Worlds, the recipient will attend the upcoming ITI World Congress in Segovia, Spain, receive an artistic residency at La MaMa Umbria to create a new work, and gain financial and production support to present the work at the Spoleto Festival.

Brazilian Symphony Orchestra protest

BRAZIL/ RIO DE JANEIRO Artists of the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra and the ballet of the Rio de Janeiro Municipal Theatre put on a free performance last week in protest against the non-payment of their salaries in the crisis driving this Brazilian state into bankruptcy. Cinelandia, the downtown plaza in Rio de Janeiro in front of the Municipal Theatre where they performed, is a favoured spot for political demonstrations. Artists of the Municipal Theatre are among the public employees most affected by the crisis that forced the Rio de Janeiro government to declare a state of financial emergency last July, shortly before the Olympic Games 2016.

Xiqu Centre holds taster performance

HONG KONG The West Kowloon Cultural District Xiqu Centre has held a taster performance of its Xiqu operas at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, in a specially built replica of its Tea House Theatre, which is to be opened in late 2018. The Xiqu Centre will be the first major venue to open in the WKCD and will feature an 1,100-seat auditorium alongside a more intimate space, modelled on a traditional Chinese tea house and offering a maximum of 200 seats. It will present small-scale productions similar to the taster performance. Designed by Bing Thom Architects and Ronald Lu and Partners, the Xiqu Centre is one of few contemporary examples of purpose-built venues for this art form.

Palais Theatre in St Kilda reopens

AUSTRALIA/MELBOURNE The landmark Palais Theatre, St Kilda, has reopened after a A$20 million (£11.5 million) makeover. The heritage-listed venue had been closed for six months for the first stage of improvements. Leaseholder Live Nation will complete the second stage of renovations by November, in time for the Palais’ 90th-birthday celebrations. Those works, costing A$6 million (£3.45 million), will include a facelift for the foyer. Work completed on the 2,896-seat venue included upgrades to the balcony, ceiling domes, electrics, fire protection and the installation of a lift.

EFFE selects 715 ‘remarkable festivals’

SWITZERLAND/GENEVA A total of 715 festivals from 39 countries have received the EFFE Label 2017-2018 as “remarkable festivals” in Europe. The Label 2017-2018 results were announced by an International Jury chaired by Jonathan Mills. EFFE – Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe – acknowledges arts events initiated by the European Festivals Association. At the same time, it serves as a searchable festival calendar on effe.eu.

Co-edited by Ian Herbert and Nick Awde. Contact email: international@thestage.co.uk