Taiwan culture minister quits over $7m musical

TAIPEI, November 18, 2011 (AFP) - Taiwan's culture minister resigned on Friday after outrage mounted over a decision to spend Tw$215 million ($7.17 million) of public money on a musical that was only staged twice.

Emile Sheng, head of the Council for Cultural Affairs, came under fire after the council put on the big-budget musical "Dreamers", written for Taiwan's National Day in October and dealing with a group of young dancers pursuing their dreams.

The opposition has blasted Sheng for wasting public funds on an overly expensive production and accused him of favouring the director of the show during bidding, urging an investigation.

Sheng's troubles deepened after a group of artists and directors on Thursday launched an online petition demanding he quit.

He tendered his resignation on Friday and it was approved by premier Wu Den-yih, said an official at the council.