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Montana Repertory Theatre to Perform 'To Kill a Mockingbird' in China

The Montana Repertory Theatre professional theater-in-residence at the University of Montana will complete five performances of Harper Lee's landmark play "To Kill a Mockingbird" in Beijing and other locations in China next month.

The Meet in Beijing Arts Festival, an annual international event, invited the Montana Rep, in association with UM's College of Visual and Performing Arts, to give five performances: Tsinghua University on Thursday, May 18; Beijing's Middle School No. 4 on Tuesday, May 23; and in Chongqing, Monday and Tuesday, May 29-30. Montana Rep will partner with China Arts and Entertainment Group and the Confucius Institute for the performances.

"We believe this is the first time an American theater company will bring this play to mainland China," said Greg Johnson, the Montana Repertory Theatre artistic director and production director. "How fitting it is that the Montana Rep, one of our country's foremost touring companies - a champion of the best in the American theatrical canon - will bring this adaptation to an international audience in China."

The Meet in Beijing Arts Festival promotes cultural exchanges by presenting Chinese culture while introducing international arts. The Montana Rep tour comprises seven UMArts students, two recent UM graduates, six faculty and staff members, three professional performers and a UM School of Journalism student documenting the tour. Stephen Kalm, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at UM, is producing the play. In addition, two young Chinese actors will join the production in Beijing to play small parts.

The play, based on Harper Lee's classic novel, invites Chinese audiences to better understand American culture, society, government, language, law and values.

"We hope the show will contribute to a further understanding of how different cultures think, operate and communicate," Johnson said.

The cast and crew will engage audiences in locations that have rarely hosted professional U.S. theatrical productions. Workshops on American acting technique, hip hop, singing and vocal production will complement the production.

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