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International news round-up (May 24)

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Russia to host World Congress of critics

RUSSIA/ST PETERSBURG In partnership with the Europe Theatre Prize, the 29th World Congress of the International Association of Theatre Critics will take place in St Petersburg, Russia, from November 13 to 18. The IATC Congress includes the seventh Thalia Prize ceremony, which this year goes to Hans-Thies Lehmann, author of Postdramatic Theatre. It will also feature a board meeting of the IATC web journal Critical Stages/Scenes Critiques and a symposium titled ‘Performing Arts: Freedom and/(in)Tolerance’. The congress ties in with the European Commission’s 17th Europe Theatre Prize awards – consisting of a special prize for theatre excellence and six laureate positions – and shows by past laureates. For further details see: aict-iatc.org

International critics get together in Belgrade at the IATC congress

UMabatha revived for Mandella centenary

SOUTH AFRICA/DURBAN The Nelson Mandela Foundation, in partnership with writer and director Welcome Msomi and Way Ahead Productions, is reviving uMabatha – the Zulu Macbeth in a special performance on July 30 as part of the Nelson Mandela centenary celebrations. The performance, which will be held at the site of the play’s first performance in 1970, the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s open-air amphitheatre in Durban, will be recorded for international release before touring South Africa, Europe and the USA. UMabatha, which parallels Zulu King Shaka’s rise to power with Macbeth, was created and directed by Msomi and toured internationally. Way Ahead Productions Africa will oversee a restoration of the Durban theatre for the July performance, with the venue reinstated as a tribute to Mandela.

LTC reveals four resident writers

USA/NEW YORK New York-based Liberation Theatre Company has announced the four emerging black writers who will take part in its second writing residency programme. Deneen Reynolds-Knott, Maia Matsushita, Marcus Scott and Tylie Shider will each have nine months to develop full-length plays. The residency concludes in February 2019 with public readings. Upon successful completion of the programme, they will receive an honorarium (amount dependent on funding). LTC was founded in 2009 to provide resources to emerging black playwrights. In 2011, LTC set up the Black Playwrights Group, having the previous year created Harlem9, which produces the annual 48 Hours in Harlem festival. For further details go to: liberationtheatrecompany.org

Fortune Theatre shuts doors after 44 years

NEW ZEALAND/ DUNEDIN Fortune Theatre, Dunedin, abruptly closed its doors on May 1 after 44 years, citing financial difficulties and falling audiences. The South Island producing theatre faced closure in 2000, forcing the sale of the building to Dunedin City Council, which leased the listed former church back to Fortune Theatre Trust. The theatre claimed to be the world’s southernmost professional theatre company and was Dunedin’s sole professional theatre group.

Former Gogol manager released from prison

RUSSIA/MOSCOW The former manager of Moscow’s Gogol Centre, Alexei Malobrodsky, has been released from prison on health grounds. Malobrodsky was accused of embezzling millions of state funding in June 2017 along with other employees, including director Kirill Serebrennikov, who has been under house arrest since last August. The pair have denied the charges, claiming they are being punished for Serebrennikov’s criticism of the Russian government. Meanwhile, the country’s foreign ministry has alleged that the US has denied visas to members of the Bolshoi Ballet for a gala in New York.

National Theatre move sparks controversy

ALBANIA/TIRANA The National Theatre of Albania is embroiled in a battle over plans for a new building. The government’s blueprint for the replacement venue, designed by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, has been met with fierce opposition over fears the move is to free up prime real estate in the capital. The government has denied this, despite controversially handing over the 1938 complex, sited on thousands of square metres, to a discredited public-private partnership.

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

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