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Lloyd Webber develops China-focused musicals

By BO LEUNG | China Daily UK | Updated: 2017-08-21 16:39

British composer and musical theater impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group has teamed up with one of China's largest media and entertainment groups to bring Webber's musicals to China and develop Chinese talent.

The partnership between the Really Useful Group and Shanghai Media Group will begin with a Chinese-language production of the composer's show Tell Me On A Sunday.

The show, originally about a girl moving from London to New York, will be transformed into a story about a Chinese woman as she moves from regional China to Shanghai. It will tour China next year.

The companies will also offer training to help develop China's dancing and acting talent by launching the SMG Arts Education Centre, an initiative with London's Arts Educational Schools (also known as ArtsEd) designed to develop professional musical theatre talent in China.

Voice, dancing and acting tutors from ArtsEd will travel to Shanghai to teach an eight-week intensive course, which will be taught in a mix of English and Mandarin in September, while shorter courses will be available from October next year.

RUG and SMG also aim to develop new musical theatre for China and increase interest in the genre which includes creating culturally inspiring translations of existing works as well as new shows.

Lloyd Webber's company has been taking his musicals to China since 2001.

The composer said: "Our ambition is that Chinese audiences should enjoy musical theatre productions every bit the equal in scale and quality to those in North America or Europe. Now in Shanghai Media Group we have a partner with whom we can achieve this goal."

Wang Jianjun, president of SMG, said she hoped the partnership would grow into a "successful case study for international cooperation".

"SMG and RUG will focus on creating original contents, while cultivating new talents and international productions to encourage and develop China's musical industry, and to build a good foundation for Chinese culture to go further on a global stage," Wang said.

Max Alexander, managing director of RUG, told AsiaTimes website that the partnership would help transform Shanghai into a regional center of musical theatre that is expected to outgrow Broadway within ten years.

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