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International news round-up: October 19

Theatre Olympics 2018 under threat from licensing dispute

INDIA The Theatre Olympics, scheduled to be held in India in 2018, may not take place as the result of a stand-off between its organisers and the festival’s licensing body. In a cease and desist letter to organisers the National School of Drama in New Delhi, the Athens-based International Committee of Theatre Olympics has declared it will neither participate in the event nor permit the use of the title ‘Theatre Olympics’. The reason appears to stem from a dispute about who is officially responsible on the Indian side for organising the event. The Theatre Olympics was founded in 1993, with 500 plays and 700 events from around the world planned for the 2018 edition, running February 17 to April 8 in 17 cities across India, merging with the National School of Drama’s own annual Bharat Rang Mahotsava festival.

Theatres to screen trailers and adverts before performances

FRANCE As France’s cash-strapped theatres across the nation mull over new ways to increase revenue, 12 venues are to launch a controversial plan to screen adverts and trailers before shows. The pilot launches in November with 17 commercial theatres – 12 in Paris and five in the provinces – representing 30 spaces with audiences of more than two million annually. The brainchild of Paris-based agency ODW, the scheme involves the installation of stage-friendly screens broadcasting four spots five minutes before curtain-up. odw-regie.com

New body to tackle mental health issues for entertainers

AUSTRALIA A new organisation to promote awareness of mental health and well-being in Australia’s performing arts was announced on Mental Health Day, October 10. The Australian Alliance for Wellness in Entertainment has been set up by national health promotion charity Entertainment Assist as a cross-sector initiative to develop a prevention-first initiative in the Australian entertainment industry. This is in collaboration with organisations such as Live Performance Australia and Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, along with sector representatives, employers and employees within Australia’s live and recorded entertainment industry. AAWE’s mental health partner is Everymind. In 2015, Working in the Australian Entertainment Industry, a Victoria University report commissioned by Entertainment Assist, showed that within the sector depression was found to be five times higher and suicide attempts more than double national levels. Visit entertainmentassist.org.au/wellness

Pie-shop Sweeney Todd recoups $1.22m in just 24 weeks

US/NEW YORK Producers of the New York revival of Sweeney Todd have reported that the musical has recouped its $1.22 million capitalisation in just 24 weeks. The feat is remarkable not only because the show is Off-Broadway but also because its staging at the Barrow Street Theatre limits seating to 130 in a replica pie shop. Directed by Bill Buckhurst with a cast of eight and a band of three, the production stars Hugh Panaro and Carolee Carmello. The show started life as a Tooting Arts Club production in 2014 in south London pie and mash shop Harringtons (seating 35), which was then recreated in a former nightclub (seating 69) in the West End, provided rent-free by owner Cameron Macintosh between the Queen’s and Gielgud theatres. Ticket prices at the Barrow Street range from $69.50 (£52.50, no pie) to $197.50 (£149.50, counter seat and pie).

Mashirika Performing Arts begins women’s rights project

RWANDA Rwanda’s Mashirika Performing Arts and Media Company has launched a new partnership with ASSITEJ-Sweden. Mobilisation for Women Empowerment and Rights is a project that addresses gender-based violence through the performing arts. Two study tours are involved, one to Rwanda and one to Sweden, as well as a workshop in Rwanda to share experiences on different strategies used in fighting gender-based violence and to develop a serial drama project to be presented to the Swedish Institute’s funding arm Creative Force. More details from info@assitej.se

The International section is co-edited by Ian Herbert and Nick Awde. Contact email: international@thestage.co.uk [1]