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International news round-up: February 23

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Russian arts in the US

US/WASHINGTON DC Two leading Russian companies are in Washington DC. The Mariinsky opera company is making its annual visit to the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, while Lev Dodin’s Maly theatre company is there for the first time with his production of Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters.

Protest theatre

SOUTH KOREA/SEOUL Nightly performances are selling out in Korea’s newest and at present most important theatre, the Black Tent. It was put up on January 8 in Gwanghwamun Square, where hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have gathered in this area of downtown Seoul every weekend since last October to demand the resignation of South Korean president Park Geun-hye. Productions in the tent, which play for one week, are by artists on the president’s recently discovered blacklist, which includes the names and occupations of more than 9,000 individuals in the artistic community.

Local plays showcased

INDIA/NEW DELHI The National School of Drama’s Bharat Rang Mahotsav Parallel Theatre Festival, which has just finished its 19th edition, has become a sought-after event, with 601 local plays competing to find a slot in the programme, hosted across six Indian cities between February 3 and 21. The NSD selected 95 plays, including 50 in Hindi and 20 in other local languages, to be staged during the festival, joined by international performances from 12 other nations including Britain, Russia, Italy, Israel, Turkey, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Romania, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh.

Plans to revive National

NIGERIA/LAGOS Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State has lent his support to bringing Nigeria’s failing National Theatre back to life. He recently joined the country’s minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, and some stakeholders in the entertainment industry to inspect the building’s two 580-seat cinemas and 1,200-capacity banqueting hall. They also looked at the 3,500-capacity main arena and the exhibition lobby. The state government has offered to renovate these areas as part of its collaboration with federal government.

Adeleide’s Honey Pot

AUSTRALIA/ADELAIDE Almost 200 buyers are heading to the Adelaide Fringe in South Australia this month as part of its Honey Pot marketplace programme. Now in its 10th year, the programme has grown from 87 delegates in 2015 to more than 180 this year. The Adelaide Fringe, which this year includes more than 1,300 shows across 300 venues, is the second largest in the world after Edinburgh. In 2016, 54 Adelaide Fringe shows were picked up through Honey Pot by national and international festivals and producers, while another 45 began negotiations for future presentation. This year, 59 of the delegates are international, representing the UK, the US, the United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Sweden, Germany, China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, the Czech Republic and South Korea.

Parisian in China

CHINA/MACAU A team from UK suppliers White Light has just completed a three-month installation of the lighting equipment for the new theatre in the Parisian, an integrated resort located on the Cotai Strip in Macau, China. Covering 200,000 sq metres, it opened in 2016 and features a half-scale Eiffel Tower, along with a luxury hotel with 3,000 guest rooms. The site’s many attractions include the recently opened 1,200-seat Parisian Theatre, located on the hotel’s fifth floor. The theatre’s first attraction, Thriller, is playing to sold-out houses.

Unrest at Polski

POLAND/WROCLAW International theatre notables including Peter Brook have spoken out against the controversial nomination of Cezary Morawski as director of the Polski Theatre in Wroclaw. Leading Polish director Krystian Lupa was due to stage Kafka’s The Trial there, but withdrew in protest. The theatre has a serious deficit of 1.2 million zlotys, but the Actors’ Union regards Morawski as the wrong man to restore its fortunes, since it holds him responsible for the loss of its funds in a huge investment (9 billion zlotys) when he was its treasurer in 2002. Morawski’s firing of several of the theatre’s leading actors, and changes to the established repertoire, are further sources of discontent among the theatre community in Wroclaw and beyond.

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

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