International news round-up: October 26

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Chinese group ban kills Nanta appetite

SOUTH KOREA/SEOUL A theatre running one of South Korea’s most successful shows will close by the end of this year, say its producers. Nanta is currently staged at four theatres across the country, a major entertainment draw for foreign tourists, especially groups from neighbouring China. However, an ongoing political dispute between the two countries has led to China banning the sale of group tours to Korea. PMC Productions has said this has reduced audiences drastically and will not renew its lease on Seoul’s 560-seater Chungjeongno Theatre, which has been temporarily closed since April this year. Nanta is a non-verbal comedy about cooking that premiered in 1997 in Korea and made its international debut at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe two years later.

Deaf Men triumph

GEORGIA/TBILISI As part of the British Council’s Culture and Development: Unlimited project, UK company Deaf Men Dancing took a British Sign Language show to the Republic of Georgia. Ten, a physical piece in which performers deliver 10 commandments for deaf awareness in BSL and movement, played at the Tbilisi International Festival of Theatre. Unlimited has been launched in Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine to explore models of good practice and develop partnerships to create a network for disabled arts practitioners and producers and to bring disabled people to the centre of policy-making processes.

Nepal’s new theatre

NEPAL/KATHMANDU Nepal, still rebuilding itself after the devastating earthquake of 2015, is to get a new theatre. Foundations have been laid for the Purano Ghar in Kathmandu, along with the appointments of creative director Sulakhchhyan Bharati and managing director Sirjana Adhikari. The new venue adds to the five existing commercial theatres in what is a beleaguered industry, having seen the closure earlier this year of the city’s Theatre Mall and the Theatre Village in 2015. The Purano Ghar is designed to seat 150 with construction starting in February 2018. Facebook: puranoghar

Nagaland hosts festival success

INDIA/NEPAL India’s National Theatre Festival was hosted for the first time in Mokokchung, capital of the remote state of Nagaland. This section of the national rolling festival ran from October 10 to 15 and came about as a result of a workshop programme held there by festival organisers New Delhi’s National School of Drama in 2008. The plays performed were part of an NSD extension programme to promote culture where a region’s play is featured in other states. Companies were represented by Nagaland, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Kerala. Nagaland, on the mountainous border with Myanmar, is one of the country’s smallest states and until recently suffered widespread inter-ethnic violence and insurgency.

Dracula’s bites dust

AUSTRALIA/MELBOURNE Dracula’s Cabaret, Australia’s longest-running theatre restaurant, is closing after 37 years. The venue is operated by Newman Entertainment International and was founded by Tikki and John Newman who pioneered musical dinner theatre in Australia. The last performance will take place on December 23 this year, with falling advance bookings blamed for the closure, which does not affect sister venues Dracula’s Gold Coast and the five-level Dracula’s Haunted House. Facebook: draculascabaretmelbourne

Opera streams ahead

CROATIA/ZAGREB The Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb is the latest high-profile addition to live streaming opera in Europe. As of October 12, the theatre joins OperaVision, a reciprocal programme backed by the European Union to free stream as a way of sharing and making opera more accessible. Supported by the European Commission’s Creative Europe programme, OperaVision builds on the success of the Opera Platform and is organised by Opera Europa, the European association of opera companies and festivals. To date, 30 houses from 18 European countries are involved in the programme.

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