Asia News: Theater For All, Namsan Creative Center, Avril Lavigne

Theater For All Launches In Japan

Though COVID-19 has almost killed the theater arts industry in Japan, it has also brought about a new project called Theater for All that endeavors to bring innovative stage productions to a wider audience. 
According to the Japan Now website, video artists in Japan are recording theatrical performances and performance art pieces and putting them online, often with multi-lingual subtitles so that even non-Japanese speaking audiences can enjoy them. 
Some videos also come with audio guides, audience interactivity and sign language interpretation. There are also foreign language productions with Japanese subtitles. 
The original concept behind Theater for All was “mak[ing] it easier for people who have difficulty going out due to the coronavirus, people with disabilities or illnesses, children, people whose mother tongue is not Japanese and the hearing impaired” to have greater access to artistic expression. 
The system announced its first schedule of events in mid-January. Most of the productions are being presented by museums and will become available for viewing the first week of February. In order to view a production, the viewer goes to the special website and registers to become a member. Prices for individual productions range from free-of-charge to ¥3,000 ($29). 
Namsan Creative Center Goes Digital
In a similar vein, the former Namsan Creative Center in Seoul, which closed last year, is being turned into a new studio for the production and streaming of “virtual art performances,” according to an article in the Korea Herald.
Operated by the municipal government, the new 2,000-square meter studio is slated to open in April 2022, equipped with the latest camera technology, audio and lighting systems to present any kind of performance, from music, dance and traditional music to plays and musicals. The studio will also accommodate educational facilities and functions for the shooting of films and videos. 
The center was originally a tennis court but then was adapted into a rehearsal space in 2007 for musicals and drama pieces. The new facility will focus on virtual productions. 
In a recent survey conducted by the Korea Culture and Tourism Institute, about 41 percent of the artists and creators who responded said they have participated in online, contactless productions in the first eight months of 2020. In addition, 56.5 percent of those surveyed said that more support for streamed productions was needed. 
A government official told the Korea Herald, “In the post-coronavirus era, both in-person and virtual performances will coexist. The Seoul Metropolitan Government hopes that artists can perform diverse stage arts here, using the studio equipped with the latest equipment.”

Taiwan Calls Off Lantern Festival
Taiwan has been luckier than most countries in terms of taming the coronavirus, with virtually no community infections on the island since last April. Consequently, last September, concerts and other large-scale events began again in earnest.
However, in December and again in January, there were localized outbreaks of infections in Taiwan, mainly at a hospital in the northern city of Taoyuan, according to Reuters. Consequently, the government decided to call off the annual Taiwan Lantern Festival that marks the Lunar New Year in February in a number of cities. 
The mayor of Taipai announced that the capital would postpone lantern festival events and cancel the Lunar New Year street market, which traditionally takes place in the fashionable Dihua Street district. In addition, the office of the president said it would not host a Lunar New Year Reception and would “coordinate with health authorities about whether President Tsai Ing-wen might visit temples during the holiday, as she would normally.”

Vivaticket Partners With MyTicketAsia
According to Blooloop, the global ticketing service Vivaticket has announced a partnership with MyTicketAsia in a bid to expand into the Asian market, with MyTicketAsia becoming the exclusive reseller for Vivaticket in Southeast Asia, promoting the service’s “integrated ticketing system to venues and events in the region.”
MyTicketAsia has been in business for more than 15 years providing venues with self-managed ticketing solution systems and promotional tools for a wide range of events. 
The company’s founder and CEO, Dirk Sass, said in a statement, “We are delighted to partner with Vivaticket as their exclusive reseller for the Southeast Asia region. With our wide networld and regional parners in Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Bangladesh and India we will be able to bring first-class services and technology into stadiums throughout the region.” 
Sass also said that the partnership will provide MyTicketAsia with access to Asian travellers who want to purchase tickets for events managed by Vivaticket, including concerts by major international artists, major international sporting events, and the Disney California Adventure Park. 
In a related statement, Luca Montebugnoli, executive chairman of Vivaticket, said, “Thanks to its ticketing system, Vivaticket already sells more than 651 million tickets per year in 50 countries, with over 2,700 installations, through responsive portals and mobile apps. This new collaboration with a partner of great value will help us increase these numbers and to expand into an important market like the Asian one.”
Avril Lavigne Postpones Japan Tour
Avril Lavigne
Jen Lowery Photo
– Avril Lavigne
The Forum, Inglewood, Calif.

Avril Lavigne’s Japan tour has been postponed for the second time, according to the tour’s local promoter, Creativeman Productions. 

The tour was originally scheduled to visit three cities in Japan last spring but after the COVID outbreak flared up, the shows were postponed to January and February 2021. 
The second postponement was first announced in mid-December when the Avril Lavigne World Tour was postponed for the second time. However, at the time Creativeman indicated it was talking to Lavigne’s management to reschedule the dates again and told those who had purchased tickets to hold onto them. 
On Jan. 25 Creativeman reconfirmed that the concerts were being postponed indefinitely and refund procedures would be announced shortly.