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Culture: Shakespeare from Japan; Arts Briefing.

Byline: Terry Grimley

Stratford-upon-Avon will host productions of Shakespeare from the USA and Japan in the autumn.

The New York-based Theatre for a New Audience will bring its production of Cymbeline and Euro-Japan Theatre Organization will stage a new co-production between Theatre-du-Sygne and Haaiju-za Company, Tokyo, and Bulandra Theatre, Bucharest, of The Merchant of Venice.

Both productions will form part of the RSC's Autumn Visitors Season, and the Merchant of Venice is presented as part of the nationwide Japan 2001 festival.

Theatre for a New Audience has been producing highly acclaimed productions of Shakespeare and other classics for 22 years, while nurturing some of America's leading actors and directors, including Julie Taymor, director of The Lion King.

The company's visit furthers an existing relationship with the RSC, whose voice director Cicely Berry initiated the American Directors Project, designed to develop directors' skills in text, language and voice, through TFANA. However, Cymbeline is the first production it has presented outside America and also the first American Shakespeare production to be hosted by the RSC.

The Merchant of Venice will feature a company of Japanese actors directed by Ion Caramitru, one of Romania's leading actors and directors and the country's former minister of culture from 1996 to 2000.

After opening in Rotterdam as part of its programme as this year's European Capital of Culture, it will have just four performances at the Other Place, from October 25-27. Cymbeline will follow at the same venue from November 19 to December 1.

Buxton's ornate Edwardian Opera House, which reopened in May after a four-month Lottery-funded refurbishment, will be given an official relaunch with a gala concert on September 1.

Opera stars including Susan Bullock, Yvonne Howard, Frances McCafferty John Hudson and Daniel Broad with join the chorus and orchestra of Opera North and the Kinder Children's Choirs of the High Peak, conducted by John Pryce Jones.

The final phase of the recent restoration includes a stunning redecoration of the interior, designed by renowned theatre architect Frank Matcham.

Ceiling paintings have been cleaned and restored and the brass lighting fittings and chandeliers were returned to their original manufacturer for restoration. New carpets have been woven to Matcham's original design.

Further information about the gala and other events at Buxton Opera House from the box office: 01298 72190.

TERRY GRIMLEY
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 3, 2001
Words:384
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