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Sheridan Associate Dean Michael Rubinoff with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Yan Shaolin

Sheridan signs historic co-development agreement with Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre

September 07, 2016

Sheridan College took part last week in a Commercial Signing Ceremony held in Shanghai, China, and witnessed by the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Minister of International Trade.  The agreement, signed by Michael Rubinoff, Associate Dean of Visual and Performing Arts at Sheridan, and Yang Shaolin, General Manager of the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre, is focused on the co-development of a new musical based on the life of Dr. Norman Bethune, the Canadian physician who left a lasting impression on the Chinese people through his voluntary medical service during turbulent times in the country in the late 1930s.

The project will team Neil Bartram, composer and lyricist and Brian Hill, book writer, with Nick Rongjun Yu, one of China’s most prolific playwrights.  Bartram and Hill are well known in the music theatre world for their co-creation of such works as The Story of My Life and The Theory of Relativity.  Nick Rongjun Yu is Deputy General Manager of the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre (SDAC), and the most produced living playwright in the country.

Over the next few years, the two creative teams of composers and writers will work together to develop both English and Mandarin versions of the musical.  The play will be workshopped at Sheridan’s Canadian Music Theatre Project, an incubator for new musicals, followed by a workshop in Shanghai.  The Canada-China production will premiere in 2019.

“This pioneering development opportunity will bring together a trio of exceptional theatre practitioners to create a musical about an extraordinary Canadian and his contributions to China,” said Rubinoff.  “I am honoured and proud that the signing of our co-development agreement was included as part of Prime Minister Trudeau’s state visit to China.”

“The Canadian Music Theatre Project has made tremendous strides in fostering the development of new musicals in the five short years of its existence,” said Dr. Jeff Zabudsky, President and Vice Chancellor of Sheridan.  “We’re extremely proud of its contributions to the canon of musical theatre through the development of both talented performers and innovative new works.”

About the Canadian Music Theatre Project:

The Canadian Music Theatre Project was introduced at Sheridan College in 2011 and is Canada’s first incubator for the development of new musical theatre works by Canadian and international composers, lyricists and book-writers. Working with a cast of students, writers bring their new musical to life through workshops and staged readings. To date, 12 musicals have been workshopped by the CMTP including Brantwood, which won the 2015 Dora Mavor Moore Audience Choice Award, and Come From Away, which will make its Broadway debut in spring 2017.

Pictured top right (left to right): Michael Rubinoff, Associate Dean of Visual and Performing Arts at Sheridan, The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Yang Shaolin, General Manager of the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre. Photo Credit: Adam Scotti