CROATIA/IRELAND With launches in Galway and Rijeka now over, programmes for the two European Capitals of Culture 2020 are underway in Ireland and Croatia. With the motto “Let the magic in”, Galway explores themes of language, landscape and migration – with both a European and universal relevance. Events include Galway Theatre Festival in May and Druid Theatre’s The Galway Tour, a large scale tour of some of the greatest Irish one-act plays. Rijeka’s motto is “Port of diversity” with a programme that focuses on themes of water, work and migration, connected to its identity, but also global issues. Highlights include a mini-festival of three shows from Belgium’s Needcompany. galway2020.ie; rijeka2020.eu
SAUDI ARABIA Saudi Arabia’s ministry of culture has launched ‘cultural commissions’ to transform 11 sectors including theatre and performing arts, music, film, visual arts and literature. The new bodies are part of a plan to enrich the Saudi Arabian cultural sector, in line with the country’s Vision 2030 programme, which has been responsible for the monolithic King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra), a Media City in Riyadh as well as a growing number of arts festivals.
PAKISTAN Writer and activist Shahid Nadeem has been named the message author for 2020’s World Theatre Day, organised by the International Theatre Institute. The director of Lahore’s pioneering Ajoka Theatre and director of the Pakistan Television Academy, Nadeem established himself as a playwright while in political exile in London in the 1980s after being imprisoned in Pakistan for his opposition to military rule. In the UK he worked for Amnesty International. He has written more than 50 plays in Punjabi and Urdu along with adaptations of Brecht. World Theatre Day celebrates theatre around the globe every March 27. Message authors write a statement about theatre that is circulated and read out on the day. Previous authors include Brazillian theatremaker Augusto Boal, Judi Dench and director Peter Brook. world-theatre-day.org
SINGAPORE Theatre companies in Singapore are offering discounts for each other’s shows in response to a fall in audiences as a result of coronavirus. Wild Rice, Pangdemonium and Singapore Repertory Theatre have agreed 15% off the other two shows for anyone buying a ticket for The Importance of Being Earnest, The Son or The Lifespan of a Fact. Following government advice to postpone non-essential events or take precautionary measures, a number of theatres have opted to cancel shows.
UK Greenwich and Docklands International Festival is celebrating its 25th year. The festival will open with the UK premiere of a show by French performance company Gratte Ciel, featuring a gigantic suspended dreamcatcher, aerial performance and 360-degree pyrotechnics. Other performances include contributions from Woolwich-based community and cultural groups, curated by Booker Prize winner and Woolwich Laureate Bernardine Evaristo and poet and founder of RevolYOUtion London, Rasheeda Page-Muir. The two-week programme of international and national outdoor arts, theatre, dance and installations will run from June 19-July 4. festival.org/gdif
NIGERIA A string of new theatre venues have been built in Lagos. The four theatres, built in different parts of the city, are part of a scheme by the Lagos state government to decentralise tourism from the Lagos Island cultural hub to other areas. The theatres have been constructed under the auspices of Terra Kulture Studio, a Nigerian arts and culture centre based in Lagos, and were conceived to “promote entertainment and art and generate revenue for the state” as well as help develop new talent.
The International section is edited by Nick Awde. Contact email: email@example.com