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International news round-up: January 24

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Interactive pop-up Chatelet season

FRANCE/PARIS In anticipation of the launch of her debut 2019-20 season at the helm of Paris’ Theatre du Chatelet with co-artistic director Thomas Lauriot dit Prevost, Ruth MacKenzie has booked a pop-up of epic proportions. Dau is a controversial multimillion-dollar art installation that mixes film with live performance. The brainchild of Russian director Ilya Khrzhanovsky, it sprawls across the multiple spaces of the Chatelet and the facing Theatre de la Ville. The interactive promenade involves live actors and 700 hours of footage filmed over three years at an immersive experiment – a 1950s-style ‘Institute for Research in Physics’ in Ukraine – with participants including opera director Peter Sellars, artist Marina Abramovic and Brian Eno. The event runs for 24 hours a day until February 17. chatelet-theatre.com

Children’s theatre fined $450,000

USA/VIRGINIA A children’s theatre company has received a $450,000 fine plus almost $40,000 in lawyer’s fees and costs for infringing Music Theatre International’s copyright. The production giant filed a complaint against Virginia-based Theaterpalooza Community Theater Productions for using copyrighted material without a licence and not paying for use of copyrighted works. MTI says it reluctantly went to court after repeated requests to halt the infringements over a three-year period, in which Theaterpalooza failed to license at least 16 productions including Matilda, Willy Wonka and Little Shop of Horrors. MTI says it will donate some of the damages to the Jumpstart musical theatre programme.

Lion King breaks audience records

SOUTH KOREA/SEOUL Disney Theatrical Productions’ The Lion King has broken the record for the largest audience for a single production in South Korea’s history, during the first leg at Daegu’s Keimyung Art Center. Next are Seoul Arts Center and Busan’s new 1,700-seat Dream Theater – advances for Seoul have already broken records. The musical, now 20 years old, is being toured for the first time internationally by Australia-based Michael Cassel Group with the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan on the circuit. lionkinginternational.com

La Scala exhibition marks 240th year

ITALY/MILAN Milan’s iconic La Scala celebrates its 240th birthday this year. Formally known as the Teatro alla Scala, the opera/ballet house’s anniversary season comes with a lavish exhibition, La Magnifica Fabbrica. Translating as ‘The Magnificent Factory’ and subtitled ‘La Scala puts itself on the stage’, it traces the evolution of the theatre and its place in Milan from the 18th century onwards. Plans are on display for a renovation due for completion in 2022. This will add a tower, extend the backstage area and create rehearsal spaces and offices. The exhibition ends April 30. museoscala.org

Opposition protests using street theatre

INDIA/MUMBAI The world of politics is often described as theatre and is now taking to the stage – or the street – in India. The Mumbai branch of the country’s opposition Congress Party has hired a theatre company to stage aspects of a political scandal in street performances across the city. The ‘Rafale scam’ relates to corruption allegations over the purchase of French fighter aircraft and, frustrated at the government’s response, the Congress branch has not only commissioned a script but shared the template with other branches. The play’s title is under wraps and features characters including Indian prime minster Narendra Modi and French president Emmanuel Macron.

Kabuki performer takes father’s name

JAPAN/TOKYO One of Japan’s top kabuki performers, Ichikawa Ebizo, has announced he will take on the stage name of his father, who died in 2013, in a season of shows scheduled for May 2020. Kabuki actors (traditionally male) pass on stage names from generation to generation – in what seems to be an unhurried process. On the billboards, Ebizo will be known as Ichikawa Danjuro Hakuen and become the 13th holder of the title. Simultaneously, his five-year-old son Kangen Horikoshi will be named Ichikawa Shinnosuke and make his kabuki debut in 2020. He’ll be the eighth to take over the name, previously held by his father.

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

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