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International news round-up: February 21

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Second home-grown NZ musical cancelled

NEW ZEALAND/AUCKLAND Joining the list of New Zealand’s biggest theatrical failures, the $8 million (£4.18 million) musical City of 100 Lovers has cancelled its run at Auckland’s SkyCity Theatre. The show opened in October as a vehicle to promote Auckland’s history and culture via song and dance to locals and tourists. The privately financed production was expected to play at the landmark SkyCity Casino’s 700-seater until August 2019. The news comes hard on the heels of 2018 flop Shortland Street: The Musical, which not only failed at the box office, but also cancelled a 2019 tour despite being quintessentially Kiwi.

Paris naturists come in from the cold

FRANCE/PARIS Winter in the centre of Paris may seem an unlikely setting for naturists, but the Palais des Glaces has proved quite a draw. Theatregoers turning up to see satire Nu et Approuvé (Nude and Approved), directed by Pascale Lievyn, had to strip off all clothing as part of the entry (the actors did likewise). For reasons of hygiene the cheap seats had to bring their own towels to sit on, while the posh seats came with ready-fitted coverings. Nu et Approuvé claims to be the first all-nude show in a major venue in the French capital, part of a naturism push in Paris, which includes naked stand-up nights, museum visits and a short-lived nudist restaurant. palaisdesglaces.com

New venue the Shed opens in New York

USA/NEW YORK Fifteen years in the making, New York City’s new arts centre the Shed will launch on April 5 on Manhattan’s west side under the helm of artistic director Alex Poots. The building housing the multidisciplinary centre will be named the Bloomberg Building and comes with a $10 million (£7.7 million) challenge grant for a newly formed commissioning fund to support the creation of new work. The eight-level building includes two column-free galleries totalling 25,000 sq ft (2,340 sq m), a 500-seat theatre that can be subdivided into more intimate spaces, an events/rehearsal space and an R&D lab. A movable outer shell can double the building’s footprint when deployed over the adjoining plaza to create a 17,000 sq ft (1,600 sq m) space for large-scale events. theshed.org

Gob Squad’s big Brexit goodbye

GERMANY/BERLIN Amid the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, Berlin’s Gob Squad brings a ray of certitude by staging what it describes as “a one-night-only look at what it means to be European on the night the UK leaves the EU”. Entitled I Love You, Goodbye, the show takes place on March 29 between 7pm and 1am at Hau1 in the German capital. German-British Gob Squad was formed in 1994 by students who, appropriately, met on European university exchanges. gobsquad.com

Gob Squad: The unruly Anglo-German theatre collective still evolving after 25 years

Chinese theatre-writing prize from IATC

CHINA Offering cash prizes of CNY 5000 (£575) to each of three winners, the Chinese section of the International Association of Theatre Critics has launched an international competition for writings on contemporary Chinese theatre. Entries should be a review, feature or academic article published in English between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2018. Reviews must be 1,500-2,500 words, features and articles 3,500-6,500 words. Along with the cash, the winners will be handed the Critics Award for an Essay on Contemporary Chinese Theatre at a ceremony in Beijing in October 2019 during the Lao She international theatre festival. The deadline is April 1 and entries and queries should be sent to cab@kalina-stefanova.com.

Falun Gong show cancelled in Spain

SPAIN/MADRID Theatre in Spain has turned out to be an unexpected battleground between the monolithic government of China and the New York-based producers of cultural revue Shen Yun. Across cities worldwide it’s hard to escape the wall-to-wall PR for the Chinese spectacular and its Falun Gong narrative, channelling a social movement condemned officially as ‘heretical’ in China. That publicity didn’t help ticket-holders when Madrid’s Teatro Real cancelled two shows citing ‘technical difficulties’. The producers accused the Chinese embassy in Spain of pressing the theatre to cancel the show, asserting that the same occurred with the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya in 2014, but without success.

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

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