While much of Playbill’s editorial focus is on Broadway and London’s West End, we always have an eye turned toward further shores! As spring break season and summer vacation looms, why not make a point of supporting an international theatre company as a part of your appreciation for the culture you travel to?
To get you started on your journey, Playbill has a recommendation for every continent (minus Antarctica—you’ll be the first to know if we discover any tap-dancing penguins!).
Africa - Terra Kulture in Nigeria
Incredible theatre is underway across Africa, but we are particularly impressed with the inventive productions presented by Terra Kulture in Lagos, Nigeria. Founded by Bolanle Austen-Peters in 2003, the Arts and Culture center presents art exhibitions, Nigerian language lessons, book readings, and auctions in addition to its wide array of dance, music, and theatre productions. Their musical Fela's Republic & the Kalakuta Queens has become one of the most successful theatre pieces in modern West African history, traveling beyond the bounds of Nigeria for successful presentations in Cairo and Pretoria prior to being filmed for a proshot release.
If you’re looking to tap into Nigerian culture, Terra Kulture is the place for you. Their next production will be the romantic comedy Sometime in May, which centers on a make-or-break wedding arrangement between a struggling photographer and an overzealous bride. Performed outdoors in Terra Kulture's beautiful gardens, the show is sure to be a satisfying way to spend an evening.
Asia - Takarazuka Revue in Japan
Now celebrating its 110th season, Japan’s Takarazuka Revue is a must-visit for theatre fans with wanderlust. Founded by Kobayashi Ichizō in 1913, the all-female revue was originally created to be a commercially viable alternative to the 400-year-old all-male Kabuki theatre tradition. Today, Takarazuka has become a cultural institution all its own, with two huge theatres in Takarazuka and Tokyo, and regularly scheduled regional and international tours, as well as television and radio broadcasts. With a reputation for decadently extravagant musicals, why not dive headfirst into this unique theatrical tradition?
Currently, Takarazuka is presenting their adaptation of the hit film RRR, which brings the Oscar-winning Telugu language film to the stage.
Australia - Ilbijerri
While the coasts of Australia are flush with performance groups, Melbourne’s Ilbijerri (pronounced "il BIDGE er ree") is an absolute must-see. Named for the Woiwurrung word for “Coming together for Ceremony,” the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Theatre Cooperative was formed by First Nations artists in 1991. Specializing in work from an Aboriginal perspective, Ilbijerri is now the oldest operating First Nations theatre company in Australia, with numerous tours and outreach programs in addition to their home-grown productions.
If you’re looking to learn more about Australia and the rich history of its people, Ilbijerri is the theatre you’ve been looking for. The company currently has numerous productions available throughout Australia, including national tours of the climate-change focused Gurr Era Op, and the menstruation comedy Goodbye Aunty Flo.
Europe - Teatro del Soho Caixabank in Spain
Founded by Academy Award nominee Antonio Banderas in his hometown of Malaga, the Teatro del Soho Caixabank is a dynamic theatre company bringing fresh artistic life to the Iberian Coast of the Sun. While the company does present original works, they have become world famous for their imaginative Spanish-language productions of beloved musicals like Godspell, A Chorus Line, and Company. Banderas is regularly involved in a wide range of capacities, including as the star of Company.
In 2024, the company will present a Spanish-language reimagining of Romeo and Juliet titled Romeo y Julieta Despiertan…; the puppet theatre piece El Verdugo; and a new Spanish-language adaptation of Neil Simon, Carole Bayer Sager, and Marvin Hamlish's musical They're Playing My Song.
South America - Avenida Corrientes in Argentina
Did you know that one of the world's largest theatre districts is in Buenos Aires, Argentina? Called Avenida Corrientes, there can be as many as 700 shows presented in one week throughout the capital city, due to large number of theatres, and their staggered performance tradition, with many different productions occupying the same theatre at different times throughout the week (sound familiar, Edinburgh Fringe fans?).
Extending more than 69 blocks throughout the city, Avenida Corrientes is closely connected to the history of Tango in the city, as well as the bustling nightlife and intellectual scene. Whether you’re looking for a Spanish-language production of a lavish Broadway musical, or an avant-garde presentation from the Teatro de Revistas, you can’t go wrong on the street that never sleeps! While there are hundreds of theatres to visit along the way, some particularly exciting productions currently on offer include Yo (Una Historia de Amor), Tita – Una Vida en Tiempo de Tango, and Espejos Circulares.
And if you want to travel with Playbill this summer, be sure to follow along with us as we do some international travel of our own at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which presents theatre from around the world. And if you’re interested in joining us on our globe trotting efforts, check out the Playbill FringeShip, our floating hotel for the 2024 Fringe, which will be docked in Edinburgh and will provide easy transportation to the Fringe (as well as exclusive on-ship entertainment).