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International news round-up: November 7

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Racist provocateur evicted from theatre

FRANCE/PARIS The French courts have backed the owners of Paris’ Theatre de la Main d’Or in evicting leaseholder comedian and actor Dieudonne M’bala M’bala from the building. The controversial performer, based at the theatre for 15 years, has regularly appeared in court for his shows which contain anti-Semitism and Holocaust-denying routines. As well as a string of lease infractions, his company has racked up €280,660 (£247,959) in rent arrears.

New performance venue in Rooty Hill

AUSTRALIA/SYDNEY A Returned and Services League club (similar to the British Legion) in a suburb of Sydney is to build a $100 million arts centre on a car park opposite. The Rooty Hill RSL has announced that it will “100% fund and underwrite” the Western Sydney Performing Arts Centre. The cash comes mainly from the club’s 726 poker machines. The 2,000-seat proscenium arch theatre, the suburb’s answer to Sydney Opera House or Lyric Theatre, will open in 2019.

Pantomime fever hits Hong Kong

CHINA/ HONG KONG China gets another taste of traditional panto with the Hong Kong Players’ Christmas show, the 56th produced by the company. This year, Aladdin, written by Teri Fitsell and Adam Hugill and directed by Jodi Gilchrist is at the Shousun Theatre, part of the Hong Kong Arts Centre. Founded in 1844, Hong Kong Players is the longest-running community theatre group in the region. Details: hongkongplayers.com

InFringe festival returns to the Big Easy

USA/ NEW ORLEANS InFringe Festival, heir to the New Orleans Fringe and Faux/Real festivals, returned for its second edition in November. Under the banner ‘All the Nerve’, InFringe ran 38 productions over four days in ten venues that included the Mudlark Public Theatre and the Happyland Theater, spread across the Marigny-Bywater, St Roch and Arabi neighbourhoods. InFringe is currently the only full-scale festival for performance arts in New Orleans.

Nigeria’s National Theatre’s woes continue

NIGERIA/LAGOS Although it has been taken over by local traders, Nigeria’s National Theatre has continued to incur running costs totalling millions of naira, including staff salaries of the National Troupe of Nigeria and the National Theatre. The crumbling complex has also fallen dark thanks to a N20 million (£42,000) electricity debt, and the total loss is estimated at N300 billion (£620 million). Four of the company’s directors have recently been arrested for corruption. Meanwhile, attempts to bring the National Theatre back to life have been hampered by court cases relating to two botched attempts to privatise the complex.

Broadway Theatre Project apprenticeship

USA/TAMPA Applications are now open for the 28th Broadway Theatre Project’s 2018 Summer Apprenticeship, which will take place at the University of Florida in Tampa from July 8 to 29. The three week intensive training programme is designed to develop the key disciplines of musical theatre as well as the life skills to prepare students for working in professional theatre. Although primarily aimed at high school and college students, there is no upper age limit. The deadline for applications is February 12, 2018.

New arts hub proposed for New Zealand

NEW ZEALAND/ HAMILTON Plans have been announced to build a new theatre and arts hub that will revitalise the central business district of Hamilton. The North Island city is host to the Soundscape music festival, one of the country’s largest street parties, yet lacks a venue capable of staging major stage, dance and music productions. The Founders Theatre closed in 2016 due to health and safety concerns after running for 54 years, and mainstage opera has not been performed in the city for the past 15 years. The 1,100-seat multipurpose building will be designed by the UK’s Charcoalblue on a budget of NZ$70 million (£36 million) and may open in 2021.

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

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