Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group (RUG) and Shanghai Media Group Live (SMG Live) have announced a new strategic partnership to develop the musical theatre industry in China.
RUG’s first Chinese language and Chinese produced production will be of the popular Lloyd Webber musical Tell Me On A Sunday, in a reimagined version which will tour across the country next year. The new iteration will reflect the modern Chinese woman as she moves from regional China to Shanghai (as opposed to from London to New York in the original version).
The companies will also launch the SMG Arts Education Center, an initiative with London’s Arts Educational Schools (ArtsEd) designed to develop professional musical theatre talent in China. This will play host to its first musical vocational training course in September, with ArtsEd’s most experienced tutors in vocal training, dancing and acting travelling to Shanghai to teach this intense eight week course.
The partnership also aims to develop new musical theatre content to build awareness and interest in the genre, either in terms of culturally sensitive translations of existing works, or developing new works drawing on Chinese heritage and literature.
Andrew Lloyd Webber said: “The Really Useful Group has been bringing my music to China since 2001. 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.”
Four West End shows by the composer are currently running: Evita at the Phoenix Theatre, Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, The Phantom Of The Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre, and School Of Rock – The Musical at the New London Theatre. Starlight Express will return to London in workshop performances at The Other Palace next month.