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2008.11.11
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Waseda University Theatre Museum Global COE Program holds international conference “Reconsidering the Underground Theatre of the 1960s” (Oct. 17 – 19, 2008)
      From Oct. 17 to 19, The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University held an international research conference titled “Reconsidering the Underground Theatre of the 1960s” as part of the Global COE Program.

    Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology established a fund named the 21st Century COE Program (*1) in 2002 with the aim of helping Japanese universities develop with individuality and international competitiveness by providing grants for research projects with the potential to become global research bases. The Global COE Program is a successor to that program. The International Institute for Education and Research in Theatre and Film Arts of the The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University (*2) has been selected as a 5-year recipient under this program, running from 2007 to 2011, and its central activity for this year is the international research conference titled “Reconsidering the Underground Theatre of the 1960s.”

    This is the first research conference to be held in Japan with the aim of taking another look from a contemporary perspective at the [underground] theater of the 1960s that would have such a tremendous influence on contemporary Japanese theater and produce so many talented theater people. As such, it has attracted a large number of students and professionals in the field. Of particular note is the participation of such leaders of the 60s theater scene as Yukio Ninagawa, Juro Kara, Makoto Sato, Minoru Betsuyaku and central members of the late Shuji Terayama’s Tenjo Sajiki company, Kyoko Kujo, Sakumi Hagiwara and Kohei Ando have talked about the student movement and other social aspects of that era and the direct and vital involvement of theater groups and theatrical expression. The result was a conference that confirmed the necessity of re-evaluating this era from the perspectives of contemporary history and theatrical expression. The conference also provided an opportunity for young researchers to present the results of their research, presented panel discussions for young theater people, keystone lectures by theater critics active at that time and an exhibition of underground theater posters from the day. There was also a symposium with Ellen Stewart of the La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club which was closely involved with Shuji Terayama, Yutaka Higashi and others of Japan’s 60s theater and inherited elements of their theater style.

*1   21st Century COE Program
http://www.jsps.go.jp/english/e-21coe/index.html
*2   The Global COE Program of the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University’s “International Institute for Education and Research in Theatre and Film Arts”
http://www.waseda.jp/prj-gcoe-enpaku/e_index2.html
+Reconsidering the Underground Theatre of the 1960s: An International Conference
http://www.waseda.jp/prj-gcoe-enpaku/project/index_en.html
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