Nine must-visit performing arts events this February

ILBIJERRI Theatre Company| Will be showcasing new work at APAM 2016

Where: Yokohama, Japan
When: 6-14 February
Originally launched as Tokyo Performing Arts Market in 1995, TPAM is an international platform for performing arts professionals who share an interest in the creation, promotion, development, dissemination, exchange, critique and study of contemporary performing arts. Today, TPAM’s programme strands feature Co-Production, Contemporary Classics, Direction, Showcase, and Exchange. Performance highlights for 2016 include Bangkok dancer and choreographer Pichet Klunchun’s contemporary folk examination Dancing With Death, sensual performance installation Bunny by Singapore’s Daniel Kok and Australian Luke George, Isla! Isla! Isla! by Okazaki Art Theater (Tokyo), and a playfully experimental musical performance led by veteran Japanese sound art pioneer Akio Suzuki.

European Forum on Music Education
Where: Leiden, The Netherlands
When: 10-11 February
The two-day forum will host panel discussions, presentations, workshops and speeches that offer advice and insight into the latest developments in music education. Networking events are also on offer to help establish new projects and inspire crosspollination between different areas of the music sector. It takes place at BplusC, a specialist library and centre for culture and the arts. The European Music Council has organised the event.

Huayi – Chinese Festival of Arts

Where: Singapore
When: 12-21 February
Celebrating and showcasing the works of out-standing Chinese artists of all genres – traditional or contemporary, mainstream or cutting edge – Huayi was launched in 2003 and is now one of four annual Singaporean cultural festivals taking place at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay. Over two consecutive weekends, major audience draws will include God of Carnage by Dionysus Contemporary Theatre, Beyond Time by Taiwanese drumming performance group U-Theatre, the Singapore Chinese Orchestra exploring Chinese cultural heritage through The Four Great Classical Novels in Concert, and an intriguing combination of poetic movement with robotic technologies in the contemplative dance piece Huang Yi & KUKA.

Avant Première Music + Media Market Berlin
Where: Berlin
When: 16-19 February
IMZAvant Première Music + Media Market Berlin is the place where broadcasters from all over the globe come to share performing arts films. Over 500 are screened from Avant Première partners like BBC, ZDF, ARTE, Metropolitan Opera New York and Universal Music.
It also boasts talks, presentations and interactive events led by industry experts. Sector dynamics, industry innovations, interactive applications and international networks are all on the 2016 agenda. ‘We are constantly in touch with both industry and audiences and able to filter current dynamics, trends, demands, changes and challenges,’ says IMZ director Katharina Jeschke, who adds that the next edition will look at, ‘the rising technologies available to promote performing arts better.’ Experts for 2016 include Mike Breneis, business development manager at Red Bull Media House; Daniel Ebner, artistic director of VIS Vienna Independent ShortsDaniel; DJ and pro-ducer Milena Fessmann; and EuroArts Music director Bernd Hellthaler. Alongside the panels and presentations are one-to-one expert sessions, which bring young filmmakers and established industry professionals together.

Al Bustan Festival

Where: Beyt Meri, Lebanon
When: 16 February-20 March
Formed in 1994, Al Bustan Festival brings the best theatre and music to the picturesque village of Beyt Meri, in the hills above Beirut. ‘Midwinter Night’s Dream’ is the theme for the 2016 festival, a nod to the 400-year anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. The full programme, certain to be packed full of talent, will go to press early in 2016.

Hong Kong Arts Festival

Where: Hong Kong
When: 19 February-20 March
The 44th Hong Kong Arts Festival takes a conceptual run at the notion of ‘what comes after’, incorporating shows from the likes of Teatro Regio Torino (with a sumptuous staging of Verdi’s epic Simon Boccanegra), Thomanerchor Leipzig and Gewandhausorchester Leipzig (St Matthew Passion), Rundfunkchor Berlin and U-Theater (LOVER), and Gianandrea Noseda (conducting Verdi’s Requiem). Equally impressive billings include the Bristol Old Vic and National Theatre of Great Britain co-production of Jane Eyre, and Cantonese opera veterans performing the epic historical biography Li Bai: The Immortal Poet. In addition to the stellar main programme, HKAF actively promotes Hong Kong’s own creative talents and emerging artists, as well as organising over 100 Festival PLUS activities in community locations each year – as ever, these include lectures, masterclasses, workshops and exhibitions, all designed to enhance engagement between artists and audiences.

APAM 2016

Where: Brisbane, Australia
When: 22-26 February
APAMThe biennial Australia Performing Arts Market (APAM) is the country’s major arts showcase event, creating a prominent international platform for Australian companies to establish relationships with venues and producers overseas. Though smaller in scale than comparable showcases such as APAP, it’s a dynamic and intense five days, encouraging close-knit networking and real depth of conversation. The move from its former home in Adelaide to east-coast Brisbane in 2014 proved successful; the event drew record audience numbers through its new base at Brisbane Powerhouse, where it returns this year. International registrations were up by 38 per cent too, with the largest group arriving from mainland Europe. This year’s presentations include smooth crooners the Modern Māori Quartet and their contemporary take on indigenous showbands of yesteryear, as well as the high-flying Circa troupe’s spectacular homage to nature in Camille Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals. Also look out for meditative dance-theatre from Marrugeku in Cut The Sky; innovative pre-school piece Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) from Polyglot Theatre and Papermoon Puppet Theatre; and a rare insight into the deafblind experience told through the live art, participatory and sensory theatre in Imagined Touch by Jodee Mundy Collaborations. APAM 2016 runs alongside Brisbane’s WTF contemporary arts festival and The 8th Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, significantly broadening the already impressive cultural offering for delegates visiting the region. Expect to see equally notable success stories as we did at the last showcase, where several Australian touring companies and artists landed bookings in South America, China and the US.

Music Education Expo

Where: London, UK
When: 25-26 February
Proudly touted as its most interactive Expo yet, MEE’s 2016 conference programme promises delegates the chance ‘to get involved with a wide range of teaching tools from magic wands, Japanese inflatable balls and spoons, to Tai Chi, mindfulness and bean bags’. Featuring CPD workshops, seminars and debates designed specifically for music and performing arts teachers, the large number and wide variety of sessions will include special explorations of the power of YouTube, tips on creating an outstanding and sustainable music department from Music Teacher Awards nominee James Manwaring, and integrating music technology into a creative orchestra. The event also incorporates a lengthy list of morning performance slots, over 130 exhibitor stands, and a Networking Café hosting interviews with industry leaders.

Adelaide Festival

Where: Adelaide, Australia
When: 26 February-14 March
Adelaide Festival continues to raise the bar in 2016, with a stellar programme encom-passing the now customary fusion of high-profile theatre, dance, music, literature and visual arts events. Rona Munroe’s The James Plays Trilogy – three pieces exploring the savagery, wit and scheming of Scotland’s 15th-century monarchs – makes its Australian debut after landing to wild critical praise at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival, while Pina Bausch’s Nelken (Carnations) has quickly become the fastest-selling dance show in the festival’s 55-year history. Elsewhere, look out for Zephyr Quartet performing a musical version of the surreal party game Exquisite Corpse, as well as stunning visual pyrotechnics from French light and sound wizards Groupe F in A Fleur de Peau, and beat-driven dance work from Canadian choreography legends Holy Body Tattoo in Monumental (with backing from post-rock pioneers Godspeed You! Black Emperor.