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International news round-up: October 12

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Ticketmaster sues brokers over bots use

USA/NEW YORK Ticketmaster is continuing action against Prestige Entertainment, Renaissance Ventures and two individuals, alleging their use of bot technology to buy tickets from its platform. Earlier this year, Prestige and Renaissance agreed to pay most of a $4.2 million (£3.16 million) settlement in New York where they said they would cease using bots, an agreement Ticketmaster says has been breached by some of the parties. Bots are automated software applications used on the web to bulk-buy tickets from online primary sellers in order to resell on the secondary market.

Valletta unveils 2018 cultural programme

MALTA/VALETTA Valletta, together with Leeuwarden (Netherlands), will be the European Capital of Culture in 2018. Malta’s main city officially opens the year on January 20, 2018, and a full programme of around 400 events has been announced, including theatre, opera and dance. Valletta’s title will be shared among all 68 localities across the islands. valletta2018.org

African arts festival at Wushwini centre

SOUTH AFRICA/KWANGCOLOSI Wushwini Arts Centre has hosted the four-day Botho Pan African Arts Festival at Wushwini, overlooking the scenic Inanda Dam in the Valley of 1,000 Hills in KwaZulu-Natal. Running from September 28 to October 1, the festival featured shows from across South Africa, Swaziland, the US, Congo, Burundi, Nigeria, Kenya, Botswana, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. The 16 theatre productions included Daffi Falls, about the life and times of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, Umabatha (The Zulu Macbeth), I Have to Go Back, a powerful collaboration by South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and TAU, a winner of the Market Theatre Festival’s Naledi Theatre Awards 2017. wushwini.co.za

Theatre repairs hurricane damage

USA/HOUSTON Houston’s Alley Theatre is carrying out major works to remedy the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey in the Caribbean and US in August. The damage, estimated

at $15 million (£11.3 million), resulted in the complete flooding of its Neuhaus mainstage, which meant that the world premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s Describe the Night had to be relocated to the Quintero Theatre at the University of Houston. The floods meant that the set had to be redesigned and completely rebuilt for the Quintero. The play, which has finally opened to strong reviews, is an epic saga that spans 90 years in Russia, interweaving the stories of seven people drawn together by history, myths and conspiracy theories.

Research into how crises affect the arts

GERMANY/MUNICH A new research unit coordinated by the Institute for Theatre Studies of Munich’s Ludwig Maximilian University is to take an in-depth look at the impact of society crises on the performing arts in Germany. Its director Christopher Balme, pointing to the recent demonstrations at Berlin’s Volksbuhne theatre, remarks: “The performing arts in Germany have been in a critical state for some time, but this is now being exacerbated by other symptoms of crisis. While the unique diversity of the theatrical scene in Germany is internationally recognised, its future is threatened by increasing public scepticism with regard to the relevance of so-called high culture (‘Hochkultur’) to society as a whole.”

Amsterdam Award for the Arts winner

NETHERLANDS/AMSTERDAM Director Teunkie van der Sluijs and Amsterdam’s Well Made Productions have been awarded the Amsterdam Award for the Arts 2017, worth 35,000 (£31,000) for their inaugural production A Raisin in the Sun. Van der Sluijs currently works with Home, Manchester on international repertoire, and was course leader in directing at the University of Manchester. This was the first Dutch production of the iconic 1959 Broadway play by Lorraine Hansberry. It opened in Amsterdam to critical and audience success in January 2016, then embarked on a national tour of the Netherlands last autumn. Van der Sluijs will direct Well Made’s European premiere of A Raisin in the Sun’s sequel Beneatha’s Place by Kwame Kwei-Armah. It will open in spring 2018 at Amsterdam’s flagship Stadsschouwburg theatre.

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

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