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International news round-up: February 4

Asylum permits fraud

SOUTH AFRICA/JOHANNESBURG Six employees of the city’s Joburg Theatre have been discovered to have fraudulent asylum permits, while the permits of another two expired in 2016, announced Johannesburg’s recently elected mayor Herman Mashaba. He said his office had received a final report into alleged fraudulent activity and misconduct by eight employees of the theatre. No names or nationalities were revealed in the announcement.

Arts for human rights

USA/NEW YORK The International Human Rights Art Festival is to take place from March 3-5 at Dixon Place theatre centre. A weekend of theatre, dance, exhibitions and discussions makes up the first human rights art festival in New York’s cultural scene. The festival is produced by Tom Block, long-time artist-activist and founder of the Institute of Prophetic Activist Art, an art-activist incubator housed at Dixon Place. Playwright and director Julia Levine is the assistant producer.

Eros theatre closed after non-payment

INDIA/MUMBAI The state government of Mumbai has sealed the building that houses the Eros theatre — a landmark in the city — along with 24 other establishments, for non-payment by Cambata Aviation Private Limited, which owns the building, of dues to its employees. Cambata Aviation, the country’s oldest private ground handler, ceased operations in Mumbai and Delhi last year, leaving more than 1,000 employees in the lurch. The action was taken by the Mumbai collector’s office weeks after the state labour department filed a criminal offence against the company for allegedly refusing to cooperate with government officials.

Budget doubled

ROMANIA/BUCHAREST Romania’s ministry of culture will have a doubled budget this year and will be a central element in the new government’s strategy, according to Ionut Vulpescu, the country’s new minister of culture. The ministry has been renamed the Ministry of Culture and National Identity, which could mark a shift to a more nationalistic approach in Romania’s arts world.

$1,000 technical prize

TAIWAN/TAIPEI March 30 is the deadline for entries for the International Organisation of Scenographers, Theatre Architects and Technicians’ technical invention prize. The top three entries will be recognised at an award ceremony in Taipei at the World Stage Design 2017 exhibition and the winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize. The TIP, initiated by the OISTAT Technology commission, is awarded to technicians working in theatre or any part of the entertainment industry who make gadgets, devices or basically simple and smart solutions for our kind of work: those clever ideas that are mostly realised by inexpensive means and materials. Visit tip@oistat.org [1] for information.

Andes celebration

BOLIVIA/LA PAZ The Bolivia-based, Theatre of the Andes celebrated its 25th anniversary from January 26 to February 1. The programme included three of the company’s own works, as well as works by groups and artists that have played important roles in its 25-year history. The theatre presented Mar, Hamlet of the Andes and In a Yellow Sun. The Malayerba group of Quito, Ecuador, which has a close relationship with the theatre, presented The Armored Reason. Bolivian groups from La Paz, Altoteatro and Octafono offered respectively The Danger and Momo. Argentina was represented by The Puppeteer of Banfield, with the play Old. Since it was founded, Theatre of the Andes has presented a total of 22 different works for a total of 1,660 performances to approximately 400,000 spectators (not counting street performances).

Fireworks displays

VIETNAM/DA NANG From April 29 to June 30, the Da Nang International Fireworks Festival will take place in the city of Da Nang, Vietnam. The theme is “Shining Five Basic Element Mountains” – inspired by Da Nang’s famous local heritage of the Five Element Mountains. The programme will consist of five firework displays and artistic nights and six parallel programmes organised to take place across eight weeks. Participating countries are: Vietnam, Austria, Australia, China, Italy, Japan, Switzerland as well as the UK.

The International section is co-edited by Ian Herbert and Nick Awde. Contact email: international@thestage.co.uk [2]