Has Cosette finally found a reason to smile in China?
Richard Spencer of the Daily Telegraph shares with us some juicy moments at a press conference announcing the signing of a joint venture between musical impresario Sir Cameron Mackintosh and the state-owned China Arts and Entertainment Group, including the following anecdote from the Vice Minister of Culture, Ding Wei:
Ding Wei also said he was of course delighted to be overseeing the arrival of musical theatre to China, but even more delighted to be meeting Sir Cameron at last. He explained this by mentioning that ten years ago (note that date carefully) he had been cultural counsellor at the Chinese embassy in Britain. Eager to fulfil his job description, he had sought out leading figures in the arts scene in Britain. Only one person he approached had refused an interview – Sir Cameron. Everyone laughed, including Sir Cameron, nervously.
Another highlight of the press conference was when a Chinese journalist asked:
If China has 5,000 years of its own culture, why did it suddenly need musicals so badly?
This reminded us of the recent 42nd Street press conference by Nederlander, the Broadway company that set up the first Sino-foreign performing arts joint venture not too long ago. Journalists had insisted on asking why they wanted to bring Broadway musicals to China and when they would finally start bringing Chinese productions overseas. The rest of the press conference, apart from those five minutes, was a total yawn compared to the stellar performance itself. After having attended (and organised) a thousand and one press conferences hosted by Sino-foreign joint ventures, we keep asking ourselves: why, oh why, do the Chinese partners always have a knack of making every single media conference feel like a friggin’ party congress?
Richard Spencer: Chinese bureaucrats welcome musicals – with a wry smile
Photo of smiling Cosette from singaporeano