The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Apr. 25, 2017
Japan Topics
World Theatre Festival Shizuoka under Mt. Fuji 2017 (Apr. 28 – May 7, 2017)
The World Theatre Festival Shizuoka under Mt. Fuji organized by the Shizuoka Performing Arts Center (SPAC) is being held for the 7th time in 2017 with a lineup of new works by directors from Japan and abroad that includes seven Japan premieres.
For the festival opening German director Nicolas Stemann returns to SPAC for the second time, bringing with him this time the Japan premiere of Werther! Based on the novel “The Sorrows of Young Werther” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, adds media of music and video and with the popular Austrian actor Philipp Hochmair in the one-man play’s only role.
Also on the program are three other productions from abroad in their Japan premieres. The Syrian director Omar Abusaada presents the much talked about Damascus While I Was Waiting, a play that reflects the difficult political situation in Syria today. “The Ventriloquists Convention” is directed by French artist and choreographer Gisèle Vienne and performed by the German puppet-theatre company Puppentheater Halle; and Italian director Pippo Delbono presents “Tales of June,” which he has written and directs himself.
The work presented this time by SPAC’s artistic director Satoshi Miyagi is an open-air production in Sumpujo Park of the Greek tragedy Antigone with an added subtitle of A Ceremonial Bonfire Sent Over the Ages. Also, appearing in this festival for the first time is Tanino Kuro with the new work MOON that he created in residence at Performing Arts Park and performs in the Open Air Theatre “UDO.” The production design for the audience-participation type work is by Germany’s Caspar Picbner.
As a related program prepared in collaboration with the Concert Hall Shizuoka, the music theater work 1940 -Richard Strauss Villa- will be performed based on historical events.
Also, as part of the City of Shizuoka’s “The Town is a Theater” project, the Shizuoka city center will be the site of a Shizuoka Street Theatre Festival “Strange Seed” (free of charge) will be held. Sixteen groups will perform, including Kaiji Moriyama + Kozue Hibino + Kohske Kawase, KAKI KUU KYAKU, Syounen Oujakan and others. There will also be symposiums and a bar where visitors can meet the actors and staff and a tea picking event.

Festival Outline
This is an international theater festival organized by the Shizuoka Performing Arts Center (SPAC), which was founded in 1997 by Shizuoka local government as Japan’s first publicly-funded performing arts organization with its own resident actors, technical and production staff, based at its own facilities, including a theater and rehearsal studios. In 2011, its name was changed from the Spring Arts Festival Shizuoka to the Fuji no Kuni – World Theater Festival (English name: World Theater Festival Shizuoka under Mt. Fuji) and is now held each June at four venues in Shizuoka city including the Shizuoka Performing Arts Theater and the Shizuoka Performing Arts Park. Based on the concept that Fuji no Kuni (the land of Mt. Fuji = Shizuoka) can be connected to the world through theater, the festival presents performing arts productions by Japanese and foreign directors. The festival’s director is the SPAC artistic director, Satoshi Miyagi.
+World Theatre Festival Shizuoka

The New National Theatre, Tokyo Announces 2017/2018 Season Schedule
In 2018, the New National Theatre, Tokyo celebrates the 20th anniversary of its opening and it will mark the last season for artistic directors Tajiro Iimori of the opera department and Keiko Miyata of the drama department and it is the third year for Noriko Ohara of the ballet department.
Announced for the drama program were eight works assembled under the theme of “Depictions of the World.” The opening work of the 2017-2018 season with be Jean Giraudoux’s The Trojan War Will Not Take Place based in a new translation by Shoichiro Iwakiri and directed by Tamiya Kuriyama. Appearing on the schedule as Japan premieres will be Marjorie Prime by American writer Jordan Harrison depicting America around the year 2060 (directed by Keiko Miyata); a adaptation for the stage of George Orwell’s science fiction novel 1984 written by British playwrights Robert Ike and Duncan MacMillan (directed by Eriko Ogawa); and Macbeth on the Equator directed by Chong Wishing. Also on the schedule are a production of Shakespeare’s Henry V (directed by Hitoshi Uyama) and a restaging of Keishi Nagatsuka’s Kagami no Kanata wa Tanaka no Nakani, and Keiko Miyata will also direct a new work by Ryuta Horai.
On the dance program will be six ballets and four dance works. The season opener will be new production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker with Wayne Eagling as choreographer. December will bring a production of Cinderella, and in January, celebrating the Theatre’s 20th anniversary will be a production of New Year Ballet, to be followed by Tales of Hoffmann. Dance works will include a “Butoh Today” program featuring works by Sankai Juku and Dairakudakan, and other dance works will be Shiro Takatani’s newest work ST/ll and a restaging of Kaiji Moriyama’s Circus.
As for the opera program, ten works will be presented in the 2017/2018 season. It opens with Götterdämmerung, which concludes Richard Wagner's opera tetralogy, “Der Ring des Nibelungen” that the New National Theatre has performed the first three of over the past three seasons. This is followed by Japan premiere performances of Matsukaze with music by Toshio Hosokawa and directed by choreographer Sasha Waltz; new production of Beethoven’s only opera Fidelio. For this 20th anniversary performance of Fidelio, the orchestra will be conducted by Tajiro Iimori and directed by Katarina WAGNER, great-granddaughter of Richard WAGNER, who has attracted much attention as current Director of the Bayreuth Festival.
+New National Theatre, Tokyo

The 61st (2017) Kishida Drama Award winner is Makoto Ueda’s Kiteketsukarubeki Shin Sekai
The final judging of the 61st Kishida Drama Awards organized by Hakusuisha Publishing Co. took place on February 27th and the winning drama chosen was Ueda’s Kiteketsukarubeki Shin-Sekai. This play is a science fiction comedy set in Osaka’s Shinsekai district that toured ten cities around Japan in a production by Ueda’s popular Kyoto-based theater company Europe-Kikaku. In the juror comment about the play, Akio Miyazawa said: “In addition to being perplexed by the magnificence of its literary style, I have to admit that it also made me laugh out loud several times. I was greatly impressed by the highly skilled writing and the sharpness of the sensitivity it reveals.”
Makoto Ueda was born in 1979 and is a native of Kyoto. While still a student at Doshisha University, he started the theater unit Europe-Kikaku in 1998 and has since served as its playwright and director. As a playwright, Ueda has remained dedicated to the pursuit of comedy, and among his representative works are Summertime Machine Blues, which was also made into a movie, and Magare! Spoon (Bend, Spoon!; based on Ueda’s original Fuyu no Yurigera). This was the first time a work by Ueda was nominated for the Kishida Drama Award and his first win.
+Winner Profile
Makoto Ueda
Born in Kyoto in 1979. Ueda is the representative of the theater company Europe-Kikaku and the playwright and director for all of its regular productions. He is also active as a writer for plays outside his own company, as well as for movies and dramas. He also plans and creates programs for television and radio. Since 2003, Ueda has had his plays Fuyu no Yurigera, Kakomu Formation, Heibon na Way and Windows 5000 selected as a finalists for the OMS Drama Award. In 2010, the television anime Yojo-han Shinwa Taikei (The Tatami Galaxy) that he contributed composition and script for won the Grand Prize in the anime category of the Agency for Cultural Affairs Media Arts Festival. Ueda was also the winner of the Ohkiri (comical show) event “Dynamite Kansai 2010 3rd”. He also appears in numerous events like Kikaku Night. In 2012, Ueda contributed the script and some of the directing for the drama Dragon Seinen-dan. (From the Europe-Kikaku website)
+Finalists (In Japanese alphabetical order)
Satoko Ichihara’s Keimiko Fumowa (stage script)
Makoto Ueda’s Kiteketsukarubeki Shin-Sekai (stage script)
Ikue Nagata’s SOETSU Kan-kuni no Shiroi Taiyo (stage script)
Mariko Ono’s THE GAME OF POLYAMORY LIFE (stage script)
Misaki Setoyama’s Rachi mo Naku, Yogore Naku (stage script)
Shinichiro Hayashi’s PORTAL (stage script)
Naotaka Hiratsuka’s Koko wa Canada ja nai (stage script)
Taichi Yamagata’s Dog-man No Life (stage script)
Oriza Hirata, Ryo Iwamatsu, Akio Miyazawa, Hideki Noda, Toshiki Okada, and Keralino Sandorovich
+Kishida Kunio Drama Award (Website in Japanese)
Presenter Topics
Australia’s Adelaide Festival opens (Mar. 3 – 19, 2017)
Founded in 1960, the Adelaide Festival is the largest comprehensive arts festival in southern Australia. Held annually since 2012, its two and a half week program features a wide variety of arts, from theater, music dance, literature and visual arts to works for children and more. Until last year, the artistic director was the founder of London’s alternative music festival Meltdown, David Sefton. From this year, Sefton is joined by the former co-directors of Sydney’s Belvoir St. Theatre, Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy
Among the main invited works for the theater program A production of Richard III by German director Thomas Ostermeier, a production of The Encounter directed by Britain’s Simon McBurney Also, among the works from Australia, attention focuses on the Sydney Theatre Company’ production of The Secret River, a work dealing with the birth of the Australian nation.
On the dance program are works including the first performance in Australian Jérôme Bel’s Gala, which has toured to numerous countries around the world. Also, the L-E-V company led by former Batsheva Dance Company principal dancer Sharon Eyel presents Killer Pig, and the Vancouver, Canada-based Electric Theatre Company presents Kidd Pivot.
The music program takes a slight change in direction from the primarily experimental type works that dominated the program until last year to feature a production of George Frideric Handel’s opera Saul directed by Barrie Kosky that had its world premiere at the Glyndebourne Festival in 2015, and a performance of Peter and the Wolf by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, among others.
Furthermore, the Kids Weekend program and the Adelaide Writers’ Week program were also held during the festival run.

Festival Outline
Believing in the potential for an arts festival in Adelaide through his involvement in the South Australia national theatre movement, journalist Sir Lloyd Dumas and Adelaide University music professor John Bishop enlisted the support of influential citizens to launch the festival in 1960 with a program of 105 performances (74 for adults and 31 for children) over the course of half a month. Held biennially on even numbered years, the Adelaide Festival and its concurrent Adelaide Fringe Festival grew to become one of Australia’s leading international arts festival events along with those in Sydney and Melbourne. Invited participants from Japan include Daisan Erotica with A Man Named Macbeth in 1994 and Yukichi Matsumoto with Mizumachi in 2000. The festival has been held annually since 2012.
+Adelaide Festival

45th Hong Kong Arts Festival opens (Feb. 16 – Mar. 18, 2017)
Hong Kong Arts Festival is an international performing arts festival that has continued to present works of some of the biggest arts companies of the East and West and many big-name artists since its first holding in 1973, will be held again this year on a large scale in venues around the city. For the past nine years, the festival’s executive director is Tisa Ho, who is also active in management of Singapore’s Esplanade, marketing and curatorial responsibilities for the Singapore Arts Festival.
This year, the festival’s theme is “In the moment” and the program is made up of works with a focus on living in the present while reflecting on the past and embracing hopes for the future. The festival’s opening performances will be the Bavarian State Ballet company’s production of La Bayadère. The festival’s final weekend will feature a program of contemporary world music under the title of “World Music Weekend” and featuring performances by talented groups from Turkey, Mali, Spain and other countries.
The theater program features a production titled 17 Border Crossings by American director Thaddeus Phillips, who has performed with Robert Lepage; the Martin McDonagh play The Beauty Queen of Leenane directed by Tony Award winner for Best Direction, Garry Hynes; the Czech Republic’s National Theatre Brno production of Janáček’s opera The Makropulos Case, among others. Also, local Hong Kong productions include works like the award-winning Hong Kong playwright Loong Man-hong’s trilogy of plays about a contemporary Hong Kong family titled A Floating Family.
As an Asian festival that also places importance on presenting the traditional Asian arts, the program also includes traditional Chinese Kun opera by the Shanghai Zhang Jun Kunqu Art Center and Cantonese opera, which is recognized as an Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, among other traditional arts.

Festival Outline
One of the largest-scale performing arts festivals in Asia, the Hong Kong Arts Festival is annually held for about one month from February, after Chinese New Year. In 1972, the Hong Kong Arts Festival Society Ltd. was established by a gathering of prominent figures in Hong Kong society, and since the festival’s first edition held in 1973, it has been introducing excellent performing arts works from China and around the world for more than 30 years. It has been managed with support mainly from the Leisure and Cultural Services Department of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.
The programs include performances of a wide range of arts productions from Asia and around the world, including opera, music, jazz, world music, theater, musicals, dance, exhibitions and more are held. The festival also offers full programs of workshops for young people and educational programs.
In the field of contemporary dance, the festival has begun a “Asia-Pacific Dance Platform” to present the works of young choreographers and dance artists active in Asia. With the aim of growing the audience for contemporary dance in Hong Kong, an concurrent program of workshops and discussions is also held. Furthermore, a new platform for crossover experimental works named the “New Stage Series” has also been newly established.
+ Hong Kong Arts Festival

Kick-off of the new theatrical arts festival Asia TOPA (Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts) in Melbourne (Jan. - Apr., 2017)
This is a comprehensive arts triennale with a focus on contemporary Asian performing arts works. In conjunction with arts organizations located throughout Victoria, Australia, and centered at the state's capital of Melbourne, the event will encompass not only the performing but also the visual arts, music, installations, video, architecture, design and literature. The triennale will be for the first time in 2017, and a multifaceted program will be put together in cooperation with partners and various organizations both domestic and foreign. Primary partners include 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Asialink, Australia Tapestry Workshop, Bluebottle, Castlemaine State Festival, Chamber Made Opera, Melbourne Festival, Monash University Art Museum, Multicultural Arts Victoria, Next Wave Festival, Perth Festival, Sydney Festival, University of Melbourne and the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival.
In the theatrical arts and dance category, Singaporean Daniel Kok will be performing Bunny; Melbourne-based Chinese Australian Eugenia Lim will perform The People's Currency; the Tao Dance Theater and leader Tao Ye will give their performance of 6, which was featured in last year’s Paris Men's Collection and Cry Jailolo by Indonesian choreographer Eko Supriyanto. Three works to be performed at the festival from Japan include Kagero by Hamanaka Kikaku, a documentary work taking the Hisanohama area of Iwaki City, Fukushima as its subject; Takao Kawaguchi's About Kazuo Ohno and Time’s Journey Through a Room by Toshiki Okada.
In addition, the networking event “Asia Producers Platform Camp,” focusing on performing arts in Asia, will be hosted from Feb. 21 - 25.

Festival Outline
The focus of this large-scale performing arts triennial lies in Asia’s contemporary arts, as opposed to classical and traditional arts. It was founded by Stephen Armstrong, creative director of Arts Centre Melbourne in 2017, as a platform for contemporary art in the Asia-Pacific region to converge and interrelate. The various theatrical arts organizations in the state of Victoria, Australia, centered around Melbourne, cooperate with each other to produce this program over the course of four months. Principal partner organizations include Arts Centre Melbourne, Australia Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Chunky Move, Federation Square, Malthouse Theater, Melbourne Recital Centre (MRC), Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO), Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC), Museum Victoria, National Gallery of Victoria, State Library of Victoria, The Australian Ballet and Victorian College of the Arts.
+Asia TOPA: Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts