Majors tour to China and Asia-Pacific region

Many of Australia’s major performing arts companies will travel to Asia this year and next, collaborating with companies, schools and academies in China, South Korea and New Zealand.

Majors tour to China and Asia-Pacific region

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This builds on their existing relationships in the Asia Pacific region, with many having toured there previously, deepening their engagement with companies in the area.

The Australian Chamber Orchestra and Sydney Dance Company will travel to Hong Kong in November 2015 to present ACO Underground, ACO Virtual andLes Illuminations.

Sydney Dance Company will also undertake a three-year market development program to build its profile in the Asia Pacific region. It will hold education workshops and masterclasses during the Christchurch Festival in New Zealand, workshops with the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, and cultural exchanges with the Hong Kong Dance Company are underway this month ( September) in Australia.

Sydney Symphony Orchestra will tour to China and South Korea in October 2015 with Chief Conductor David Robertson, further cementing its formidable engagement in the region.

The orchestra undertook an extensive tour in June and July 2014, playing seven concerts in 12 nights—including a sold-out performance at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing.

The 2015 tour will be its fourth tour in the past six years.

The Australian Ballet tours to Beijing and Shanghai in October this year, presenting various works including Graeme Murphy’sSwan Lake and Alexei Ratmansky’sCinderella.

This will be its eighth tour to China, and will perform Swan Lake, and a mixed program of Australian works. It has toured extensively in the region, including Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

It’s not just about performance. Musica Viva spent nearly two weeks in May this year, and will do another two weeks in October–November in Hong Kong presenting schools performances and workshops, and professional developments for teachers.

As with many other companies, it’s a strategic, long-term multi-year engagement.

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra will undertake a residency in April 2016, collaborating and partnering with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra has regularly toured to China, Korea and Japan over the past 15 years.

Next year Black Swan State Theatre Company premieres its first international collaboration with the National Theatre of China— Bertolt Brecht’sThe Caucasian Chalk Circle— in Perth in August 2016 and will tour the play to the China International Festival in October 2016.

The Caucasian Chalk Circle, which coincides with Black Swan’s 25th anniversary— is expected to be the first of several joint Black Swan–NTC productions, where the companies share artistic staff and collaborate on new productions.

It’s not the only Brecht play to tour from Australia to China. Malthouse Theatre’s production ofThe Good Person of Szechuantoured to the Shanghai International Arts Festival and the Beijing International Theatre Festival in October 2014.

It was directed by acclaimed experimental Chinese director Meng Jinghui (Artistic Director, National Theatre of China),who relocated to Melbourne to direct the production, which ran in Australia in July.

‘Cultural exchange is as much about discovering the things we have in common as our differences,’ the then artistic director Marion Potts said.

‘These collaborations highlight the former and the satisfaction we collectively derive from a great night in the theatre.’ (Herald Sun, 5 November 2014)

The West Australian Symphony Orchestra will tour to China, performing at the Beijing Music Festival in October 2016 as part of a cross-collaboration between WASO, the China Philharmonic Orchestra and Australia China Business Council (WA).

The partnership began in December last year with three musicians from WASO travelling to China for a week of rehearsals and performances with the CPO, marking the official launch of the program in China.

The program of activities, undertaken by WASO musicians in Beijing, and the CPO musicians in Perth, will provide performances in schools, children’s hospitals, as well as master classes at the Beijing Conservatory of Music and the University of Western Australia.

‘This will touch many more lives than just those who attend the concerts in Beijing and Perth, and foster a greater understanding of each other’s culture, which will form the glue that binds our two economically dependent countries into the future,’ WASO Chairman Janet Holmes à Court AC said.

The Queensland Symphony Orchestra will commission a concerto with a leading Chinese composer to premiere in Brisbane in 2017, which will later be performed in China as part of a developing exchange program with orchestras and festivals in Shanghai and Beijing.

This touring has been supported by a combination of various partners, including corporate sponsors, the Australia China Business Council, state governments and the Australian Government through the Australia Council, with these recently announced grants:

Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO): $66,000

Sydney Dance Company: $125,000

Black Swan State Theatre Company: $60,000

Sydney Symphony Orchestra: $250,000

Queensland Symphony Orchestra: $30,000

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra: $60,000

West Australian Symphony Orchestra: $60,000

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