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OnOff Stage

For the first time, Talawa, Britain's leading black theatre company, is running a summer school for young black people this month. The 25 applicants have already been chosen to work with theatre professionals, including playwright Winsome Pinnock, Kully Thiari, artistic director of Red Ladder Theatre Company and designer Ali Zaidi.

The summer school, funded by the John Lyons Charity, comprises two weeks of workshops, talks and discussions, culminating in a presentation to invited professionals. During term time, Talawa runs an education programme called Link-Up, which works closely with schools and colleges. For more information, ring 0171 251 6644.

BAAA may sound like a long-winded sheep to the uninitiated, but it's really an acronym for the British American Arts Association, a charitable organisation that promotes international cultural activity and provides information for artists. One of its many projects is the International Arts and Education Initiative, which encourages international contact between organisations and people working in the arts and education. The Initiative runs an International Arts and Education Resource Centre, a library for teachers and arts education professionals researching in this field. Queries from those unable to visit the Centre should be addressed to BAAA, 116 Commercial Street, London E1 6NF (0171 247 5385). For visitors, the Centre is open from 11am to 5pm Monday to Thursday by appointment only.

Still on an international theme, the first World Culturelink Conference held in Zagreb in June brought together arts professionals from more than 30 countries to look at cultural identities and dialogue between cultures. It was proposed to establish a cross-disciplinary international arts and education network, focusing on local exchanges, information and advocacy. Already in existence is Culturelink's Directory of Institutions and Databases in the Field of Cultural Development. Further information on the directory can be obtained from the BAAA's Resource Centre.

Speaking of arts education networks, the London Borough of Newham recently launched one of their own. The rationale of the east London-based network is explained by Rob West, education officer at Theatre Royal Stratford East. "Often groups work in isolation. It seemed that the time had come to share what we were doing and offer mutual support." As well as arts organisations sharing information, the network aims to disseminate information on opportunities available to residents in the borough. London Arts Board thought the initiative such a good one that it paid for the first issues of the newsletter of the Network, Artifacts. And among the many items in the newsletter, good news from Theatre Venture, Newham's Community Theatre company, which received an eleventh hour reprieve after months of threatened closure due to local authority spending cuts. For more information about Newham's community education service, ring Tony Coleman on 0171 473 1080.

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