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International news round-up: May 4

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Playwriting contest to find next Shakespeare

USA/STAUNTON The American Shakespeare Center is launching an international playwriting competition, Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries, that will create a modern canon of companion pieces to the playwright’s works. Over the next 20 years, the ASC will select one companion play for each of Shakespeare’s 38 titles and produce two new plays in repertory with its Shakespeare partner each year. The final year of the 20-year cycle will be a retrospective of the best work from the cycle. The ASC will offer two annual prizes of $25,000 to the winning playwrights as well as funds to support their travel to Staunton for the planning and rehearsal periods and housing while in town. Deadline for submissions is February 15, 2018. For details, visit: americanshakespearecenter.com.

ISPA’s 100th congress

CANADA/MONTREAL The International Society for the Performing Arts is to hold its 100th Congress in Montreal from May 23-27, a period which also sees the opening of the city’s Festival TransAmeriques. A key component of this gathering of producers, agents and managers is the Anthony Field Academy, an intensive arts administration programme for new and emerging leaders, named in honour of long-time ISPA member and regular contributor to The Stage Anthony Field, who was instrumental in establishing the first academy at ISPA’s Stockholm congress in 1998.

Integrated Joburg City Theatres launched

SOUTH AFRICA/JOHANNESBURG Joburg City Theatres is a municipal entity owned by the City of Johannesburg that operates the Joburg Theatre in Braamfontein, the Roodepoort Theatre, and Soweto Theatre. Over Easter, the group arranged tours of its facilities, including the three theatres, the youth development platforms, the in-house Stages restaurants, and its corporate venue offerings. JCT now has a fully equipped mobile theatre, available for corporate and public rental. Productions can be adapted for performance from the back of a 20-metre truck designed by Mercedes-Benz and built by Serco. The mobile theatre boasts a 10-metre wide by 5-metre deep stage, dressing rooms and a lighting and sound system.

Festival showcases visiting productions

GERMANY/BERLIN Berlin’s Schaubuhne theatre has just finished its seventh Festival of International New Drama. In it, 16 productions from all over the world addressed the festival theme Democracy and Tragedy. As well as a strong showing from Latin America, the local audience was treated to Romeo Castellucci’s look at Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, from 1835, and Richard Nelson’s election trilogy for New York’s Public Theatre, The Gabriels, to be seen this month at the Brighton Festival. Wales was represented by Gary Owen’s award-winner Iphigenia in Splott, while Dublin’s Dead Centre presented Hamnet, a solo work for an 11-year-old actor exploring Shakespeare’s relationship with his lost son.

New 550-seat venue

SINGAPORE Singapore’s minister for culture, community and youth, Grace Fu, has announced that an £18 million mid-sized theatre is due to open at the country’s entertainment complex, Esplanade. The new addition to Esplanade’s Theatres on the Bay will open by 2021, offering a 550-seat venue that will give arts groups much-needed space to stage new work and attract more audiences. Ms Fu said the government would contribute at least £6 million to the new venue, while the Esplanade will raise the rest. The existing Esplanade Theatre and Esplanade Concert Hall seat just below 2,000. The Esplanade also has two 200-seat studio spaces.

Festival d’Avignon

FRANCE/AVIGNON The programme has been announced for the 71st Festival d’Avignon, which takes place from July 6-26. With 50 shows in 21 days, 43 are 2017 productions, and 37 artists appear for the first time. Japanese director Satoshi Miyagi’s Antigone gets the big show in the Papal Palace, Katie Mitchell directs Jean Genet’s The Maids in a Dutch/Polish production, outgoing director of the Berlin Volksbuhne Frank Castorf brings a five-hour version of Bulgakov’s Moliere, while Avignon festival director Olivier Py offers an hour-long Hamlet and a rather longer creation The Parisians. Simon Stone, whose Yerma is returning to the Young Vic, directs Toneelgroep Amsterdam in Ibsen House.

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

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