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International news round-up: February 7

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Market Theatre inquiry concludes

SOUTH AFRICA/ JOHANNESBURG South Africa’s ministry of arts and culture has concluded its investigation into misconduct, racism and nepotism at the Market Theatre. The probe was a response to allegations made by a senior manager at the Johannesburg venue, founded in 1976 as an independent anti-racist theatre during the country’s apartheid regime. The Market Theatre Foundation’s council has been handed the report, which looks into alleged discrepancies in salaries, claims that white employees received different treatment from black staff and concerns that the theatre did not have permanent staff. The council’s chair Kwanele Gumbi has now been replaced by Gerald Themba Dumas along with other new appointments amid a wave of resignations. markettheatre.co.za

Theatre NO99 to end after 14 years

ESTONIA/TALLINN The groundbreaking Theatre NO99 has announced the shock decision to close after generating 100 original productions over the past 14 years. Director and founder Tiit Ojasoo said the decision was made by the whole artistic team and was not financially motivated. Though independent, the company was state-funded and the theatre is leaving something of a void by vacating its large headquarters in Tallinn. Eyeing the site is Sakala Skene, a new international centre for the performing arts and theatre education. no99.ee

Lagos festival plans Unimaginable 2019

NIGERIA/LAGOS From small beginnings, in just five years the British Council has helped grow what is now West Africa’s biggest arts event, the Lagos Theatre Festival. It runs from March 4-10 this year and features 600 artists in more than 100 performances in 20 different venues across Nigeria’s biggest city. The festival was conceived and launched in 2013 as a fringe festival by the council to provide a platform for theatremakers in Nigeria, to develop audiences and to produce works for unconventional spaces. Organised by the non-profit LTF Foundation, this year’s edition is themed Imagine the Unimaginable. In 2018, the festival also launched the first Lagos Fringe – the 2019 edition is slotted for November 19-24.

Magic Mike musical adaptation unveiled

USA/BOSTON After the Magic Mike Live revue, currently at the Hippodrome Casino’s refitted theatre in London and in Las Vegas, a stage musical version of the movie has been announced. Seven years in the making, Magic Mike will premiere at Ambassador Theatre Group’s recently reopened Emerson Colonial Theatre in Boston, running from November 30 to January 5, 2020. A transfer to Broadway and the West End is expected. Inspired by the 2012 film directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Channing Tatum (who are also producers on the musical), the book is by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, with score by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey. The director is Trip Cullman and the choreographer is Camille A Brown.

West Kowloon build costs continue to soar

HONG KONG The West Kowloon arts hub continues to be dogged by controversy over the billions of taxpayers’ dollars still needed to finish it. The latest bill needing to be footed is construction of an underground network, designed by UK architects Foster and Partners to make the district’s ground level pedestrian-friendly by directing traffic underground. It will link the new Xiqu Centre and Lyric Theatre with access to retail and residential units above and below ground. The government is tight-lipped over the exact hike from the 2014 price tag of HK$23 billion (£2.2 billion), but critics warn it could hit HK$30 billion (£3 billion). westkowloon.hk

Toronto venue names cross to Meridian

CANADA/TORONTO Later this year, the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts will be renamed Meridian Hall, while the Toronto Centre for the Arts will become the Meridian Arts Centre, the result of a CA$30.75 million (£17.6 million) partnership struck by Toronto City Council with Ontario-based financial group Meridian Credit Union. The two theatres, along with the St Lawrence Centre for the Arts, are managed by Civic Theatres Toronto, currently rebranding as TO Live, which was created in 2015 to merge the underperforming venues after unsuccessful attempts to sell them.

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

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